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Singapore Bicentennial

Community - From Hope to Home

Brush Stroke

In the years following the establishment of Singapore as a British trading post in 1819, people came from all over the region. Merchants arrived to trade while others journeyed here in search of a better life. Many eventually settled down, calling Singapore home.


The Malays were among the earliest communities, having followed Tengku Hussein Shah to Singapore after he was installed as Sultan by the British in 1819. Trade grew rapidly in the new port, as did opportunities. For many Chinese,  Destination - Nanyang promised a better life and attracted them to sail south in search of their fortunes. The rapid economic development in Singapore can be attributed to a subgroup of the Tamil community – the Chettiars from Chettinad, India, who became Singapore’s First Financiers.


The Early Communities

After the British established a trading post on the island in 1819, a number of different communities from the region began to arrive in Singapore. Who were they?


Destination - Nanyang

The rapid development of trade in the new thriving port attracted many Chinese to seek their fortunes here. Find out how much they have contributed to Singapore's economy.


Singapore's First Financiers

As early as the 1820s, the Chettiars established their presence as private bankers and moneylenders. Learn more about this subgroup and other professions taken on by the Tamil community.

Dive Deeper

pink brush stroke
Look back at stories we've published in our Bicentennial year, 2019.
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Other Bicentennial Related Content

BalikSGExplore old Singapore in Augmented Reality with the BALIKSG app!