The founder of Singapore was Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles (6 July 1781 – 5 July 1826)external image stamford-raffles-1-sized.jpgexternal image Stamford%252520Raffles0007%252520%255BAshif%252520Padili%255D.JPG

Sir Stamford Raffles

However, there are some disputes on whether Singapore was really founded by Sir Stamford Raffles. Some people claim that the true founder of Singapore was Colonial William Farquhar or John Crawfurd.

Colonel William Farquhar
Colonel William Farquhar

John Crawfurd
John Crawfurd

William Farquhar

The new settlement had many problems and William Farquhar had to solve.

He had to get a lot of people to come to trade and live in Singapore.

-He invited settlers from Melaka to come. He also stationed a British officer on St. John's Island to invite passing ships to stop in Singapore. When Raffles returned in May 1819, the quiet fishing town had become a little town of new settlers.

There must be enough food to keep the new settlers in Singapore.

-The people of Melaka heard about Singapore and sailed down in boats loaded with foodstuffs, which they sold at high prices.

There was VIOLENCE and DISORDER when the settlers came. Crimes were around the street.

-Farquhar started a small police force, but had too little people to keep law and order.

There were pests everywhere.

-Farquhar offered money for every rat and centipede killed, which worked very well.

Because of this, some people claim that William Farquhar founded Singapore as he built up the settlement.

John Crawfurd

Signed the treaty in 1824 which made Singapore a British Possesion.

Who really 'founded' Singapore?

Before answering this question, you will need to ask what it means to found Singapore. What do we mean by 'founder' or 'founding'?

The issue is open to debate as there are different interpretations of what constitutes a 'founder'. Some subscribe to the view that a founder is one who builds up a settlement. They claim that Farquhar should be honoured as the founder and architect of the British settlement as he was left in charge of Singapore by Raffles who left after he had signed the treaty with Sultan Hussein. When Raffles returned to Singapore on his second visit in May 1819, he found that the quiet fishing village had become a busy town full of settlers. A new British settlement could not be built overnight. Farquhar was the one who had to start from scratch.
However, others disagree as Raffles was the one who signed the treaty on 6 February 1819 with Sultan Hussein which allowed the British to build a settlement in Singapore. Some may consider John Crawfurd to be the real founder as he signed the treaty in August 1824 which made Singapore a British possession. Under the treaty, the whole island was handed over to the British.
There could be several plausible answers to the question, "Who was the founder of Singapore?" A historian commented: If we are referring to ancient Singapore, the Sejarah Melayu(Malay Annals) declares that its founder was Sang Nila Utama or Sri Tri Buana. If we are referring to modern Singapore, most Singaporeans would answer, "Mr. Lee Kuan Yew". And for a long time, when you asked who founded colonial Singapore, the straight answer would be "Raffles".


So who do you think is the founder? Why?