The Singapura Kingdom, as told by the Malay Annals
1299 - 1396
The Singapura Kingdom rose from the ashes of the Srivijaya empire in the 14ᵗʰ century. Favourable winds coupled with strong trade and diplomatic networks allowed Singapura to grow to great heights. However, at the turn of the century, everything changed, leading to the Kingdom’s fall.
Global and Regional Rivalries Resulting in Singapore’s Decline
1400 - 1613
After the fall of the Singapura Kingdom, Singapore still played a significant role in the region, including being the site of resistance against the Portuguese, and a trading post. However, its fortunes dimmed again after yet another attack.
The Arrival of the British and Early Singapore
1819 - 1867
Stamford Raffles and William Farquhar were East India Company officials, who sought to protect the company’s interests in present-day Southeast Asia. Capitalising on a succession dispute, they established a free port in Singapore, which quickly flourished.
Modern Institutions Take Root in Singapore
1819 - 1854
After 1819, Singapore saw the introduction of modern institutions such as a police force and schools. Munshi Abdullah bore witness to these changes and was excited about this new world, but he expressed sadness at the passing of the old.
After 1819, Singapore attracted an influx of migrants from nearby regions. Tapping on established networks forged by pioneers from diverse backgrounds, many moved to Singapore enticed by the free port’s trading opportunities, Farquhar’s reputation and Sultan Hussein’s newfound fortunes.
Singapore became a bustling town where immigrants flocked to seek better opportunities. They filled jobs in new industries like the gambier plantations. While some built new lives here or eventually returned home wealthy, others succumbed to vices and debt.