Sir Stamford Raffles (1781-1826)
On first seeing Singapore, which was then a small fishing village, Raffles, a particularly forward-looking and benevolent agent of the East India Company, grasped its potential as an entrepot (or trans-shipment) port. He thereupon purchased the island for the East India Company from the Sultan of Johor and invited Chinese and Indians to immigrate to the new town, thus inaugurating Singapore' s present multi-cultural society. During the short time that Raffles visited Singapore, he founded a girl's school and other institutions.
Unfortunately, his wife and children died there from illness, and shortly after his return to England he died of a brain tumor, having lost his fortune when a bank in India crashed. Some months before his death, the British government refused a pension for Raffles, one the most important, as well as most benign, creators of the British Empire.
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