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However, Raffles was able to charm the man and to reassure him that the Dutch posed no threat in the area. Hussein Shah had been the crown Prince of Johor, but while he was away in Pahang to get married, his father died and his younger brother was made sultan, supported by some of the court officials and the Dutch.
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To circumvent the situation of having to negotiate with a sultan influenced by the Dutch, Raffles decided to recognise, on behalf of the British Crown, Hussein Shah as being the rightful ruler of Johor. Farquhar's attempt to establish a more favorable treaty in Rhio Riau was met with greater challenge, as the Dutch were present and made for a rather awkward position.
The Dutch were alarmed and sent a small contingent to the island. Despite a covert offer of subterfuge against the Dutch offered by the Raja of Rhio Riau , Farquhar returned and an official protest was sent by the Raja to Java regarding the matter. Raffles declared the foundation of what was to become modern Singapore on 6 February, securing the transfer of control of the island to the East India Company.
With much pomp and ceremony, the official treaty was read aloud in languages representing all nations present, as well as the Malay and Chinese inhabitants. Although ownership of the post was to be exclusively British, explicit orders were given to Farquhar to maintain free passage of ships through the Strait of Singapore and a small military presence was established alongside the trading post.
After issuing orders to Farquhar and the remaining Europeans, Raffles left the next day, 7 February Raffles also planned to start a British presence in Achin , on the northern tip of Sumatra.
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As soon as he had departed, the Raja of Rhio Riau sent letters to the Dutch, disclaiming the deal, protesting innocence and blaming British encroachment. Meanwhile, in Malacca the Dutch acted at once, commanding that no Malays could go to Singapore. Raffles' bold claim of Singapore created a curious geographic situation: although Penang was clearly closer in distance to Singapore, Raffles, in his capacity as Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen, was nominally still in control.
This undoubtedly irked the authorities in Penang to the point where they refused to send any sepoys to Singapore to complete the garrison.
Official Dutch complaints came before the end of the month, and Raffles attempted to appease the situation by instructing Farquhar to not interfere with the politics of surrounding islands. Despite numerous threats and serious considerations by the Dutch Governor-General in Java, they did not take any military action. The confused political situation in Johore and Rhio also created a certain uneasiness and instability for the two nations.
Tengku Long was claimed to be a pretender to the throne, and, since the succession laws in the Malay sultanates were not clear cut, treaties signed between native rulers and the European powers always seemed to be on the verge of invalidation; especially if a sultan should be deposed by one of his siblings or other pretenders.
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Nonetheless amidst uncertainty and intrigue, Raffles landed in Achin on 14 March , with begrudging help of Penang. Once again, it seems that multiple people were in power, but none wanted to formally deal with the British. The hostile atmosphere created allowed Raffles to cancel the only meeting he was able to arrange, with Panglima Polim , a powerful divisional chief, fearing treachery.
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As the influential merchant John Palmer , Raffles, and fellow commissioner John Monckton Coombs of Penang sat offshore, awaiting a response, Calcutta debated whether to reinforce the port city. Evacuation plans were made, but the Dutch never acted and ultimately Lord Hastings prompted Colonel Bannerman, the Governor of Penang , to send funds to bolster Singapore. Finally Raffles was capable of convincing his fellow commissioners to sign a treaty with Jauhar al-Alam Shah , the ruler of Achin, which installed a British resident as well as guaranteeing the exclusivity of bi-lateral trade.
By the time Raffles had returned to Singapore, on 31 May, much of the immediate crisis that the colony had caused in Penang and Calcutta had passed.
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By then, the initial five-hundred villagers had grown to become five-thousand merchants, soldiers, and administrators packed onto the island. Raffles was determined to destroy the Dutch mercantile monopoly in the area to replace it with a gateway for trade with China and Japan. The latter he had attempted but failed to reach an agreement while governing Java. While in Singapore, Raffles established schools and churches in the native languages. He allowed missionaries and local businesses to flourish.
Certain colonial aspects remained: a European town was quickly built to segregate the population, separated by a river; carriage roads were built and cantonments constructed for the soldiers. Otherwise no other duties were imposed. Confident that Farquhar would follow his instructions well, Raffles sailed for Bencoolen once again on 28 June.
Raffles was still the Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen when he returned. Raffles started more reforms that were, by now, almost trademarks of his rule over the colonies. Forced labour was abolished when he first arrived, and he declared Bencoolen a free port as well. The currency was regulated and, as he had an excess of out-of-work civil servants , they formed committees to advise him on the daily running of the colony.
However, Bencoolen was not as self-sufficient as Singapore. The area was poor and disease-ridden: the first reports from the committees reflected very poorly upon the condition of the colony. Unlike the salutary neglect Raffles granted upon Singapore, he delayed European-inspired reforms emphasizing only the cultivation of whatever land was available. Native authorities were given power in their respective districts and were answerable only to the Lieutenant-Governor.
The slave-debtor system was brought in, instead of the old slavery system that Raffles had abolished in Java, Borneo, and initially in Bencoolen. Slave-debtors were registered, and educational reforms started to focus on children instead of the entire population. Raffles looked into a long-term plan for the slow reform of Bencoolen. Unlike many other European adventurers, Raffles did not impose upon the colonized the alien language or culture of the colonizer.
In addition to preserving the artifacts , fauna , and flora of his colonies, he also allowed religious freedom , which was especially important as the Malay states were largely Muslim. Christian schools were started by missionaries in all of his colonies. Colonel Bannerman's death in Penang in October brought new opportunities for Raffles to expand his power to also include the other minor British factories and outposts from Sumatra to Cochin China.
He sailed to Calcutta and as Lord Hastings sought to consolidate all of the small British possessions in the East Indies. During his sojourn, he had the opportunity to argue for free trade and the protection of the private enterprise. Education and the retention of small British outposts were also discussed.
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The Dutch claim on the Sultanate of Johore and hence, Rhio, and the diplomatic exchanges between Baron Godert van der Capellen and Calcutta continued throughout this time. The legitimacy of the British treaties was also questioned once again, but finally, as Singapore grew at an exponential rate, the Dutch gave up their claim on the island, allowing the colony to continue as a British possession.
However, the pressures put upon Calcutta ensured that no single governor of all British possessions in the Strait or on Sumatra was appointed, and Raffles, whose health was slowly ailing, returned to Bencoolen. Raffles returned to Bencoolen in ill-health, but as his health improved, he continued on his quest to learn about the island he now called home.
He studied the Batak cannibals of Tapanuli and their rituals and laws regarding the consumption of human flesh, writing in detail about the transgressions that warranted such an act as well as their methods. He also noted the rise of the Sikh religion in certain parts of Sumatra.
By early , Tengku Long had firmly established himself as the Sultan of Johor to the British, but the political situation in the area remained a befuddled mess, with the old sultan dying and many new ones attempting to gain either the crown or regency. As Farquhar was involving himself poorly in local politics, Raffles appointed Travers as the Resident of Singapore , replacing Farquhar.
He also found that Singapore's trade was slowly overtaking that of Java. As in Java, Raffles collected samples of local species of plant and animal, as well as describing them in his journals. He located other tribes and recorded their customs, especially their religions and laws. Bringing the island of Nias under British rule he noted its civilized state and high production yields of rice. Yet the production of food remained a problem. In Bencoolen Raffles paid special attention to the agricultural methods of the Chinese , including an introduction to the only issue of Proceedings of the Agricultural Society.
In order to remedy the shortages his employer, the East India Company , concerned themselves only with profit-taking. Even as Raffles lived like a country gentleman and ran his colony like an estate, his expenditure on nature preservation was seriously frowned upon. In both Calcutta and London they discussed his removal from office, while Castlereagh continued negotiations with the Dutch regarding the ongoing diplomatic conflicts.
Luckily, the Singapore issue had its supporters in the House, so as negotiations continued in Europe, Raffles remained largely idle in Bencoolen. The only major issue, outside the politics of the local sultans, involved the replacement of Farquhar, who decided that he had no intention of leaving his post voluntarily, causing a moment of tension between him and Travers.
Raffles' request for Travers to deliver dispatches to India nullified the issue late in the year, and Farquhar remained in charge of Singapore, with its survival still in doubt for many in both India and London, who believed that it would either be handed over to the Dutch or taken violently by force when Castlereagh's negotiations had ended. Still William Farquhar stirred up more trouble, especially with local English merchants over trivial matters of self-importance and overreaction over small infractions of white traders, for some of which he was reprimanded by Calcutta officially.
Public works , commissioned by Raffles but undertaken by Farquhar, were becoming overwhelmingly expensive. Personal tragedies also started for Raffles. His eldest son, Leopold Stamford b. The oldest daughter, Charlotte b. For the good part of four months the couple remained devastated. The year would be eventful with the suicide of Castlereagh and the appointment of Lord Amherst as the Governor-General of India , replacing Hastings.
As Raffles grew restless and depressed, he decided to visit Singapore before heading home to England. Accompanying him would be his wife Sophia and their only surviving child, Ella. Raffles was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in Raffles was pleased with the fact that Singapore had grown exponentially in such a short period of time.
The colony was a bustling hub of trade and economic activity. Even so, Farquhar's administration was deemed unsatisfactory, for example, allowing merchants to encroach on government areas, permitted vices such as gambling, and toleration of the slave trade. The plan was still racially segregated, giving the best land to the Europeans.
Yet it was considered remarkably scientific for the time.
It was also during the replanning and reconstruction of the port town that Farquhar dramatically argued with Raffles, who now considered him unfit for the position of Resident. The founder took direct control; and with a heavy hand. In , he instituted a code of settlement for the populace, which was soon followed by laws regarding freedom of trade. A registration system was quickly instituted for all land, regardless of ownership, and the repossession of the land by the government if land remained unregistered.