Singapore


Singapore
   An island abutting on southern tip of the Malay Peninsula in the narrow waters joining the Malacca Strait to the South China Sea, originally named Singapura, Sanskrit for “Lion City.” A lease on it was acquired by Sir Stanford Raffles in the name of the East India Company from the Sultan of Jahore in 1819. Raffles established a free-trade port city in Singapore that quickly eclipsed other ports as the entrepôt servicing trade between India and China, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia. Singapore encouraged immigration, by virtue of which it acquired a cosmopolitan character and a population composed of Malays, Javanese, Indians, Chinese, and English.
   In 1826, Singapore came under the united administration of Singapore, Malacca, Penang, and Province Wellesley in the Straits Settlements, and in 1858 the East India Company ceded the entire Straits Settlement to the British crown. With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Singapore became an important link to Middle Eastern trade as well. As a naval station, it ranked as one of Admiral John Fisher’s “five strategic keys” to the British Empire.
   See also <>; <>; <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Bowle, John. The Imperial Achievement: The Rise and Transformation of the British Empire. Boston: Little, Brown, 1975;
    Tarling, Nicholas, ed. The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia. 2 vols. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
   CARL CAVANAGH HODGE

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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