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He was forced to quit school in order to support his mother and siblings. Fighting for dominance over trade in Asia, the Dutch and the Portuguese engaged in several battles at sea.

Perspectives from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

In , the Dutch attacked the Portuguese merchant ship Santa Catarina off the coast near Changi — plundering cargo worth 3 million Dutch guilders approx. This alerted the rest of Europe to the huge profits that could be gained from trade in Asia. Battles at sea continued in the interim years, until the Dutch, allied with Johore, blockaded the Straits of Singapore and Melaka, and succeeded in taking Melaka in Singapore was burnt down by 20, Acehnese warriors arriving by ship.

With the destruction of the Johore Sultanate, Singapore once again dimmed on the global scale. One of the most important works on Malay history, Sejarah Melayu was later referenced by Stamford Raffles himself as he searched for a potential British trading post in the Malay Archipelago. With its independence, Aceh would become a challenger to the primacy of the Melaka and Johore Sultanates, to which Singapura was affiliated, in the years to come.

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Although no longer a bustling port, Singapore became part of the Melaka Sultanate and geographically remained an important site of their naval base. The backbone to this naval force was the Orang Laut. Fearless warriors, loyal sailors and expert fishermen, the Orang Laut were a dominant group living in Singapore during the s.

Thus began the Age of Exploration as European explorers set sail in search of ways to reach Asia by sea, in place of land trade routes.

The cultural differences between East and West, according to one artist

Forced to find an alternative to the overland trade route closed by the Ottomans, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama sailed down the western coast of Africa and rounded the Cape of Good Hope — becoming the first European to reach India by an all-sea route originating from Europe.

He used it as a port city that flourished due to its location at the crosswinds of the monsoons and the rise of the maritime trade with China. Parameswara, a Palembang prince, sought refuge in Singapore after a failed revolt against the Majapahit empire. Within days, he turned on his local host and usurped the Singapura throne. His rule, however, was shortlived as there was a quick reprisal from the north to punish him for his crime.

Be sure to reserve your tickets early for this immersive experience that showcases key moments in Singapore's year history. Skip to content. Discover more.


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Our Narrative from a New Perspective What if we were to look at our history from a different perspective? What will we discover? Watch the film. The Arrivals 4 January Image credit: National Archives of Singapore. Image credit: Australian War Memorial. Close quote popup In , a man named Lim Bo Seng, along with his team, blew up the Causeway to stop the Japanese from invading Singapore. He didn't look like an action hero, but he did heroic deeds.

Jaron Tia pictured with his grandfather. With this in mind, we want to infuse a sense of wonder in visitors by capturing unique stories from this century as well as the periods leading up to, and beyond it. Michael Chiang and Beatrice Chia-Richmond.

Creative Directors, The Bicentennial Experience. Image credit: National Library, Singapore. Close quote popup In the s, the port in Riau welcomed free trade among all: Malays, Javanese, Chinese and the English. Bent on monopoly, the Dutch destroyed trade there, forcing the English to establish their own in Singapore. Dr Imran bin Tajudeen.

The Journey

Assistant Professor, National University of Singapore. Image credit: The British Library. Close quote popup On 25 February , the Dutch attacked the Portuguese ship Santa Catarina off the coast of Changi, seizing a fortune in goods. To justify their actions, they created one of the first papers on the freedom of trade, maritime navigation and prizetaking.

Suffice to say, Singapore was the birthplace of modern international maritime law. Peter Borschberg. Associate Professor, National University of Singapore.

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Singapore, at that point, had become a port to the Johore Sultanate. Kwa Chong Guan. Close quote popup Before the s, Indians and Arabs had visited this part of the world long before the Europeans.

Pakistan's Geographic Challenge

But what interests me are the motivations of the Europeans. Raffles and company were certainly not aimless but purposeful. How much did they know of Singapore as a naval base, and later as an emporium of the East?