History of Singapore

Singapore’s past is marked by many stories and legends. Which of these is the real, genuine story can certainly not be proven beyond doubt. But that’s probably not that important either. The nice thing about stories is that they are exciting. And that’s why I wrote a logical one for myself out of all the stories, legends and myths. If it’s right in the end doesn’t matter. Main thing you like the story 😉.

I have selected a few videos that fit very well to this article. They conjure up pictures in your head where my lines can’t do that 🙂 .

Singapore before humans – https://www.nationalmuseum.sg/

Already in the Middle Ages and far before that, the sea route was used past Singapore to transport goods by ship. However, its usefulness and the first records date back to the 3rd century. Before, so you can assume, the people here lived from fishing.

Sea Route between China and India Wiki

In the third century Singapore was called Pu-Luo-Chung. A Chinese traveller translated this from “Malay” (Pulau Ujong). This word came from the former sea nomads (maybe the Orang Laut), which means “tip at the tip of a peninsula”.

At the time of the Ying Dynasty and still at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) Singapore was called Temasek (Danmaxi), which means Sea Town. This name also appears in early writings of Malay and Indonesian (Javanese) literature. At that time there were only two small settlements. One stood at the gate to Keppel (today’s Labrador Park) and was called Long Ya Men – later Dragon’s Teeth Gate because there was a rugged granite rock on the site.

The other stood on the hill of today’s Fort Canning Park and was called Ban Zu and comes from the Malay word pancur (source of water). And there really was a forbidden spring on the west side of the hill. Only the women of the palace that stood on top of the hill in the 14th century were allowed to bathe here.

Later the whole hill was called Bukit Larangan. Probably because the kings were buried here and people used to believe that their spirits were up here.

Around 1818 the British were very active in India and so it came that a civil servant of the British East India Company, named Sir Stamford Raffels, discovered Singapore. The small fishing town seemed perfect to him as it was directly on the important sea route between China and India. And it was here that the trade in tea and silk for Europe took place. Unfortunately, there were many pirates off the islands who repeatedly attacked and robbed the merchant ships. About 10,000 people lived in Singapore at that time. Today approx. 5,600,000 (2017).

So Raffels built his residence on the forbidden hill. This was now called Government Hill until it was renamed Fort Canning Park in 1861. But not from this highest elevation of the island could the merchant ships be protected from the pirates. That took the highest place at Labrador Park.

In 1822 Sir Stamford Raffels reorganized the colony. He designated the Downtown Core; a financial, administrative and commercial (Raffles Place) centre. Today more commonly known as CBD – Central Business District. At that time, however, it was much smaller…

Film von 1913 (über glühende Kohlen laufen und eine Ziege opfern)
British Colony of Singapore in 1938

In the Second World War, the Japanese came by land with bicycles and tanks and conquered Singapore. A very dark chapter with much suffering for the population began now…


From 1945, Singapore was again under British government control. But that didn’t work as well as before and so Singapore tried to be integrated into Malaysia (1963-1965). But an agreement could not be reached and so Singapore became independent on 09.08.1965 (national holiday). The flag with the color red is supposed to symbolize the brotherhood and equality of the people. The half moon stands here for a young nation, thus like the moon increasingly (ascending) and the five stars stand for the ideals: democracy, peace, progress, justice, equality. This also works quite well here, which I notice. The religions all live peacefully here and the different cultures function well together and side by side. The Chinese make up the largest population group with over 70 %. After that the Malays come about 13.5 % and the Indians about 9 %. The rest is composed of Europeans, Arabs etc.

In contrast to other countries, there are four official languages. Tamil (an Indian dialect), Malay (official national language), Chinese (Mandarin) and English (administrative and commercial language). Today about 7,799 people live on one square kilometre – Singapore ranks on 3th of the world. Only Monaco and Macao are still populated more. Even Bangladesh ranks 9th on the list of the most densely populated countries in the world (statista 2018).

But Singapore does not only consist of an island that is connected to Malaysia by a bridge. Singapore also has 63 other islands. For example Kusu, St. Johns, Lazarus and Sisters Island.

Old Singapore 1951
Old Market 1961
1938 North Boat Quay
200 Years Singapore

And what happens today? Look here 😉. This article has dealt with the past. Perhaps one will soon follow with the present.

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