Raffles' Landing Site, Singapore

Raffles' Landing Site, Singapore

The statue of Singapore's founder, Sir Stamford Raffles, reportedly marks the spot on the northern bank of the Singapore River where the general set foot on the island the very first time on 29 January 1819. Back then it was just an unwelcoming swampland and tiger-infested jungle, while today the area serves as the Civic Precinct accommodating government buildings, a concert hall, galleries, and museums.

For someone who had spent a very limited time on the island (his longest tenure in Singapore was only eight months), Raffles had an extraordinary influence over its development. His name shows everywhere throughout the city, yet his impact extends way beyond the purely civic commemoration. The streets you walk in the heart of Singapore still largely follow the original layout drawn by Raffles. The ethnic districts, such as Little India, were all demarcated by him as well. Even the classic shop-house design – built of brick, with a central courtyard for light, ventilation and water collection – is attributed to Sir Raffles, too. But more importantly, Singapore’s very existence – as one of the world’s greatest seaports – is a direct consequence of Sir Raffles’ vision.

Recognizing the island’s potential as a post to counter the Dutch power in the region, Raffles immediately struck a deal with Abdul Rahman, chieftain of Singapore and subordinate of the Sultan of Johor, to set up a British trading station here. Understanding that the sultan’s loyalties to the Dutch – who were furious at the British incursion into what they perceived their territory – would make the final approval of his deal impossible, Raffles approached the sultan’s brother, Hussein, addressing him as His Highness the Sultan, and concluded a second treaty with both him and the chieftain. Thus, the Union Jack rose over Singapore and sealed its future as the British trading post.

Years on, thanks to its duty-free stance and strategic geographic position at the gateway to the South China Sea, Singapore experienced a meteoric expansion, seeing Chinese, Indian and European migrants coming in search of work and commercial success. By 1860 the city's population had reached 80,000. By the end of the 19th century, with the opening of the Suez Canal and the advent of the steamship, Singapore’s position as the regional hub of international trade had been consolidated.

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Raffles' Landing Site on Map

Sight Name: Raffles' Landing Site
Sight Location: Singapore, Singapore (See walking tours in Singapore)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Singapore, Singapore

Create Your Own Walk in Singapore

Create Your Own Walk in Singapore

Creating your own self-guided walk in Singapore is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Chinatown Walking Tour

Chinatown Walking Tour

Ethnic Chinese make up the majority of the Singaporean population. Therefore, it's no wonder that Chinatown is one of the top tourist destinations in the city. This vibrant and culturally rich neighborhood is steeped in history and tradition and is home to several iconic landmarks.

Undoubtedly, the most prominent of them is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, housing a sacred relic...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Colonial District Walking Tour

Colonial District Walking Tour

Singapore emerged as the British India Company's trading post in Southeast Asia in the early 19th century. The Colonial District of Singapore, also known as the Civic District, is a historical gem reflecting the island nation's colonial past. Spread across the banks of the Singapore River, the European-style buildings in the area attest to that period.

One prominent landmark here is...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Singapore Introduction Walking Tour

Singapore Introduction Walking Tour

Malay legend has it that a long time ago the Sumatran prince, who sought shelter from a storm, ended up on the island of Temasek where he saw a strange animal believed to be a lion. He then founded a city there and named it Singapura which in Sanskrit means the “Lion City”. In the 14th century, Singapura found itself “between a rock and a hard place” when the neighboring realms of Thailand...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles

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