Early history of Singapore

The early history of Singapore refers to its pre-colonial era before 1819, when the British East India Company was led by Sir Stamford Raffles established a trading settlement on the island and set in motion the history of Singapore.

Prior to 1819, the island was known by several names; an early reference may be in the 2nd century work by Ptolemy which identified a coastal port at the southernmost tip of the Malayan peninsula, called Sabana. However, historians generally attribute a 3rd-century Chinese traveller's record describing an island at the same location called Pu Luo Chung, a transcription of Singapura's early Malay name Pulau Ujong, as the first recording of its existence.

Singapore was known in the 13th to 14th century as Temasek, a name also recorded in Chinese sources as Dan Ma Xi, a country recorded as having two distinct settlements – Long Ya Men and Ban Zu. It changed its name to Singapura perhaps towards the end of 14th century. The island was alternately claimed by the Siamese and the Javanese in the 14th century. The last ruler of Singapura, Parameswara fled to Malacca after an attack by either the Javanese or Siamese, and established the state of Malacca. It was controlled by Sultanate of Malacca in the 15th century and the Sultanate of Johor from the 16th century.


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