Pulau Ubin lies on the Straits of Johor off the Northeastern coast of the main island of Singapore. It was essentially made up of five smaller islands connected by mangrove swamps. The swamps were later drained, resulting in one continuous island. In the 16th to 17th century, the island was under the control of the Johor-Riau Empire and the earliest inhabitants were the Orang Laut and indigenous Malay with Bugis and Javanese origins. The British East India Company claimed Pulau Ubin (then called Pulo Obin) in 1825 when John Crawfurd, Singapore’s second British Resident, led an expedition to the island from Singapore. Pulau Ubin was later described as an important island that commanded the entrance of the “highway for all vessels trading to China and the far east”.
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