Today in 1819: Sir Raffles Finds Simha Pura

Apparently as a result of all my negative memories of being stranded at Changi airport in 1989 while returning from my LAST trip to India, I stopped thinking critically about Singapore– there’s no other reason for why my etymology-lovin’ self didn’t think, “Sing-…Singh…lion” and “-pore…-pur…city”. When did I have my eureka moment? Today, as I glanced at Wiki’s main page, where under “Selected Anniversaries” I learned that today is the day that a British Knight (no, not the sneaker) founded Singapore. Symbol_crest.png

Sir Stamford Raffles, a man who went from London clerk of a certain trading company to Governor of Sumatra is the BK I mention:

In 1817 he was knighted by the prince regent. He came back to the island of Sumatra in 1818, and on 29 January 1819, he established a free-trade post at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula — a site that became Singapore. This was an audacious move, against British policy not to offend the Dutch in a zone conceded to be a Dutch sphere of influence. In six weeks, several hundred traders appeared to take advantage of the no-tax policy, and Raffles gained retrospective approval from London.[wiki]
Raffles declared the foundation of what was to become modern Singapore on 6 February of that year, securing transfer of control of the island to the East India Company. He was also responsible for the Raffles Plan of Singapore. By the time he left the country in 1823, the city was on its way to become the largest port in the world. It continues to thrive as a low tax trading hub.[wiki]

Do tell “Everything-Is-From-India” Uncle that I was thinking about him today, would you please? ;)

6 thoughts on “Today in 1819: Sir Raffles Finds Simha Pura

  1. damn! now that you’ve mentioned it, the etymology just seems so obvious. funny how i never made the connection, there being so many “—pore”s in india.

  2. Is anyone else deeply amused by the fact that this guy is named Sir RAFFLES? He sounds like a character out of 12th Night.

  3. In Tamil, singam is tiger and puram is city. Trade between the tamil Chola empire and the Malay peninsula is well documented, and Singapore has a huge Tamil population. The Singapore dollar to this day features Tamil script, perhaps the only currency to do so.

  4. In Tamil, singam is tiger and puram is city. Trade between the tamil Chola empire and the Malay peninsula is well documented, and Singapore has a huge Tamil population. The Singapore dollar to this day features Tamil script, perhaps the only currency to do so.

    forsooth… your uncles and aunties shed blood to get rights for tamil in india… the least you can do silly willie, is give the indian republic its due… i’m looking at the Rs 100 note and on the left is the pledged amount, written in fifteen indian languages … and third from the bottom is (rund x rund x anj x anj) rupaiya… in Tamil… well.. let’s see what we can dig up online. Voila! A pixure is worth a (rund x anj)^(moonh) words…

  5. and just because i like to thread the soliloquys out there… here’s a snap from Singapura and … sri lanka. So that’s three countries now with tamil on their currency… eh mon frere.