Raffles and his East Indiamen

What a coincidence that India celebrates its independence on August 15 while Singapore’s National Day is August 9. Singapore’s founder, Sir Stamford Raffles, arrived on the island in on 29 January 1819 from Calcutta (now Kolkata) in India. Even the ship he sailed on was named Indiana. I couldn’t find details of the ship but here are pictures of other East Indiamen, as they were called, built in India.

Raffles was born on his father Captain Benjamin Raffles’ ship off the island of Jamaica on 6 July 1781. He arrived in Singapore at the age of 35.

The Singapore Chronicle (below) was the island’s first newspaper. First issued on 1 January 1824, it folded up in 1837.

The Chronicle dated 28 February 1833, carried a notice that a Robert Diggles has been appointed trustee for the estate of Naraina Pilley, whose house and property would be sold to settle his debts. Pillai, an Indian merchant from Penang, arrived with Raffles and built the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore – the Mariamman temple dating back to 1827. He cleared his debts and prospered again. You can read more about him in Wikipedia. Here is the link to the page in the Singapore National Library’s archive.

This is how Raffles’ arrival in Singapore is described in Infopedia:

In December 1818, Raffles left Calcutta in search of a new British settlement to replace Malacca. Malacca was one of the many British territories given back to the Dutch as part of a war treaty. Raffles had foreseen that without a strategic British trading post located within the Straits Settlement, the Dutch could gain control of the Straits Settlement trade. Raffles arrived in Singapore on board a ship called Indiana on 29 January 1819. Accompanied by William Farquhar and a sepoy, he met the Temenggong Abdul Rahman to negotiate for a British factory to be established on the island. On 6 February 1819, he signed an official treaty with Sultan Hussein and Temenggong Abdul Rahman, and subsequently the Union Jack Flag was raised officially.


One response to “Raffles and his East Indiamen”

  1. sorry, pls check with the French Embassy.Raffles also had two French Naturlist onboard this day and also met the Temengong Abdul Rahman.It was announced by Fench Embassy..
    Did Raffles moonlighted as Lt Commander of Fort Malborough.He engaged Diarde and


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