Singapore was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles who had been Lieutenant Governor of British Java (Malaya) from 1811 to 1815. Raffles obtained concessions from the local chiefs to establish the city which he called Lion City because of its strategic and commercial location. Compensation was also given to the Prince of Johor. The Dutch in Java (now Indonesia) complained but military conflict was averted when Raffles got concessions from Jauhar al Alam Shah the Malay Prince of Java( Dutch Java) who also laid claim to the island.
The world famous Raffles Hotel was established in 1897 by two Armenian brothers named Sarkies. Their new building which is the main hotel today was completed in 1899.
The cultural centre is based in a Sultan’s palace. The Istama Kampong Glam palace was the second built on the site. It was designed by the British Colonial architect and completed in 1843. It was built for Sultan Ali Iskandar and his family. His descendants lived in the palace until 1999 but ownership was transferred to the Singaporean government on independence from Britain.
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