In this essay, I would like to discuss on why the British wanted to have a trading settlement in Singapore.
The British needed a new trading settlement in the region. This was to break the Dutch monopoly in the Malay Archipelago, because, though the British then had already established two trading settlements at Penang and Bencoolen, they were not located near the main trading area in the Archipelago, thus were not suited to become major trading centres. Penang was located too far up, thus away from the Straits of Malacca, the main ship passageway for the India-China trade. Bencoolen, on the other hand, faced the Indian Ocean, overseeing the entrance to the Sunda Straits, so it was a much less important area. As a result, the Dutch continued to spread their monopoly of trade to more and more areas in the region. The British were afraid that their commercial trade with China would be affected if the Dutch continued to occupy more areas in the Archipelago. Furthermore, the British were prohibited from operating in Dutch-controlled ports, with the exception of Batavia, where unfavourable prices were imposed. So, Sir Stamford Raffles, the Lieutenant Governor of the British colony at Bencoolen, reasoned that to compete with the Dutch, a new trading port in the region was needed.
Singapore was chosen by the British as their new trading settlement because of its good position for trade. It was located at the southern entrance of the Straits of Melaka, thus occupied a central position on the main trade route between India and China. Due to its commanding position, it would become an important port of call for British on their way to China. Even better was the opening of Hong Kong and other treaty ports in China, which caused more traders to sail to China. Singapore, which was located on the main China route, would as a result benefit from this increased trade. Sir Stamford Raffles understood that Singapore would prosper, and become a major port for traders from...
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