A Splendid Little Colony: British Singapore 1819 - 1963


Treaty of Friendship and Alliance on 6 February 1819


A schematic map showing the location of the Treaty Tent and general area at the River mouth on 6 February 1819

Source: Frost, Mark Ravinder and Tu-Mei Balasingamchow. Singapore: A Biography (2009)
It remains unclear who the artist of this map was, and when exactly it was sketched. Notice that within a mere six days after Raffles first stepped ashore on 29 January, the following had appeared – the flag and flagstaff, the canons, the red carpet, and the banqueting tent.

WHAT HAPPENED ON THE 6TH OF FEBRUARY 1819

“The day of the signing of the Treaty, 6 February 1819, dawned bright and sunny. A small cluster of tents had mushroomed on the Padang – then, as today, a flat, grassy area. Preparations had begun the previous week, during which a hundred Chinese plantation workers had cleared the ground and readied it for the coming formalities. One tent stood out, dressed up with rich scarlet cloth which was used to cover the floor and the five chairs inside, and to line a path from the door and then for about a hundred feet by the side of the river bank. At noon, some 30 officers and soldiers of the East India Company gathered and the hubbub of activity drew local Malay and Chinese bystanders, who squatted by the bedecked tent in anticipation.

About an hour later, a burst of canon announced the arrival of Tengku Long. Attired in brightly coloured garments of silk and escorted by a military guard, the soon-to-be Sultan of Singapore was accorded the full royal treatment. As he processed down the red carpet, the Company soldiers who lined the way executed a ceremonial presentation of arms. At the door to the tent, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles stood waiting, about to see his long-cherished dream become a reality…. After the Treaty signing, the Union Jack was raised on the beach, to an accompaniment of artillery volleys and salutes. Then the Company officers and Malay leaders celebrated with a banquet.”

(From Frost and Balasingamchow, Singapore: A Biography).


A Splendid Little Colony: British Singapore 1819 - 1963 | Singapore




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