History of Singapore Before 1819 Was there a Singapore Before 1819?
SOURCES OF EVIDENCE • Written Evidence: • Artefacts / Archaeological Evidence: • Pictorial Evidence:
Written Evidence: Malay Annals • Also known as Serjarah Melayu • What does it tell us? • Singapura founded by Prince from Pelambang ( Sumatra) • On the way, there was a violent storm so he threw his crown into the sea and the storm stopped. • Sang Nila Utama named Temasek Singapura or Lion City because he saw a creature that looked like a lion • Singapura - thriving trade centre under Sang Nila Utama visited by many foreigners • Majapahit empire (Java) jealous - attacked
Written Evidence: Malay Annals • How do we know if the information in this source is factual or accurate?
ACCURATE/RELIABLE? • ASK IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: • P: PURPOSE - WHY WAS this TEXT WRITTEN, WHAT KIND OF THE TEXT IS THIS? • A:AUTHOR -WHO WROTE IT? Does the AUTHOR has knowledge of the facts? Is the author a historian?
THE SEJARAH MELAYU • “ a famous Malay literary work written in the 16th century” ( history textbook) • “a historical Malay literary work that describes the establishment of the Malacca Sultanate and its history….was believed to have been first compiled and edited by Tun Sri Lanang, the Bendahara of the Royal Court of Johor in 1612, under the instructions of Sultan Alauddin Riaayat Shah while he was held captive in Aceh. (wikipedia)
What have we found out about the Sejarah Melayu? • PURPOSE: • “literary work” - written as stories so purpose is? • Can stories be considered facts? • “historical” - based on what happened at that time • Are the stories totally fictional?
What have we found out about the Sejarah Melayu? • AUTHOR: “Bendahara of the Royal Court of Johor “ • Does he have accurate knowledge of what he writes about? • Court official - so would have some knowledge of the history of the Sultanate ( kingdom) and the Sultans ( kings) • BUT SM was written in the 16th- 17th century when the Malacca Sultanate had moved to Johor after being defeated by the Portuguese. Where would he get the information about early Singapura ( the part about Sang Nila Utama - look at your textbook pg 4)?
What have we found out about the Sejarah Melayu? • BUT was he a historian? • Or was he more of a story writer? • LINK to PURPOSE: Was he writing history or stories? • Could the parts of the Malay Annals about Singapura and Sang Nila Utama be based on legends since the author would have little first-hand knowledge of the early history ( around 13th century)?
Who was Sang Nila Utama? • Was there really a prince from Palembang called Sang Nila Utama? • Malay Annals/Sejarah Melayu also use the name Sri Tri Buana • So how accurate do you think the part about the Sang Nila Utama was? Was it fiction or fact? ( read pg 4 of your history text)
Parameswara • According to Alfonso D’Alberquerque, the Portuguese general who conquered Melaka: • 1390s: a Palembang prince named Parameswara fled to Singapura and usurped rule. When the king of Patani (in the Thai peninsula), who was brother of the former ruler, came to seek revenge, Parameswara fled north to found Melaka. • In the Malay Annals, Parameswara was fifth in the line of rulers of Singapura, who was attacked by the Javanese Majapahit and was forced to flee to Melaka, which he founded.
Is this part of the Sejarah Melayu accurate? • How can you prove if this part about Parameswara is fiction or fact? • Refer to pg 19 of your textbook where there are two sources that tell you about the Keramat at Fort Canning. • Do the two sources AGREE with each other about who was buried there?
Is the Sejarah Melayu an accurate /factual source of evidence? • Accurate because: • Not accurate because:
How else can we try to PROVE a source is accurate? • C: Corroborate • Cross-reference or compare sources: • If two or more sources AGREE or say the same thing: more accurate • If sources DISAGREE then less accurate
CORROBORATE /CROSS- REFERENCE • What other other evidence do we know of ? • Chinese written records: Wang DaYuan • Archaeological Evidence: Fort Canning artefacts • The Singapore Stone • Do these sources AGREE with/SUPPORT the information in Sejarah Melayu?
Wang Dayuan’s written account • Wrote about his travels to Southeast Asia in the 14th century in his book DAO YI ZHI LUE • Was a well-known Chinese merchant • Use PURPOSE/AUTHOR questions to decide: Is this source accurate?
Wang Dayuan’s account of Singapore in the 14th century • Temasek was a famous place visited by many traders from foreign countries • Chinese traders brought goods here to sell • Bustling trading centre • Dangerous place because there were pirates
Does Wang Dayuan’s account agree with /supports the Sejarah Melayu? • Wang Dayuan’s account agrees with Sejarah Melayu that…..
How can we find out if these written sources are true? • Cross-reference with evidence from artefacts uncovered at Fort Canning • What do the artefacts tell you about early Singapore before 1819?
Archaeological Findings at St.Andrew’s Cathedral • uncovered remains of ancient 14th century Singapore within the church’s compound, yielding the inference that the ancient settlement extended all the way from the Singapore River to Stamford Road.
Archaeological Findings at St.Andrew’s Cathedral • These pre-colonial findings are dated to the 14th century or earlier. • Chinese coins include those of the Song and Yuan dynasties ( 14th century). • Five intact stoneware vessels, along with several porcelain celadon jarlets believed to be of the 14th century have been recovered. • Other unique artifacts found at St. Andrew’s Cathedral include a tubular carnelian bead, probably from India, a Yuan dynasty 10-cash coin from China, a Sri Lankan coin of the 13th century, and a carved stone human head.
But is Temasek and Singapura the same place? • Why would it be difficult for us to find out? • Unless more evidence is found, there is NO TOTALLY RIGHT answer to this question • What can we conclude from the evidence we have?
Other early sources • The first written records of Singapore date to the 2nd century: when the island was identified as a trading post in several ancient maps. • The Greek astronomer, Claudius Ptolemaeus, located a place called Sabana in the area where Singapore lies and identified it as an emporion or designated foreign trading port, as part of a chain of similar trading centres that linked Southeast Asia with India and the Mediterranean.
Other early sources • A 3rd century Chinese written record described the island of Pu Luo Chung (蒲罗中), probably a translation of the Malay Pulau Ujong, "island at the end" (of the Malay peninsula). • There is record that in 1320, the Mongol sent a mission to obtain elephants from a place called Long Ya Men (龙牙门 or Dragon's Tooth Strait), which is believed to be Keppel Harbour. 
BATU BERLAYER OR "LOT'S WIFE" AT THE ENTRANCE TO KEPPEL HARBOUR, ONE OF THE "DRAGON'S TEETH" DRAWN AROUND 1845-1848
How accurate? • Early sources based on maps BUT early maps were not really ACCURATE • People did not the knowledge / technology like we have now to draw accurate maps • Also many different names , how can be certain that they all refer to the same place • Early history of Singapore is VAGUE
Other Evidence? • THE SINGAPORE STONE • Once stood at the mouth of the Singapore River • Believed to be 12th or 13th C • British blew it up in 1834 • The remaining piece can be found at the Singapore History Museum THE SINGAPORE STONE-FRAGMENT OF AN INSCRIPTION FOUND AT MOUTH OF SINGAPORE RIVER, WRITTEN IN OLD MALAY DATING FROM AD1000 & 1400
Other Evidence? • Until today, no one has been able to make sense of the writing on the Singapore Stone • Although a mystery, the Singapore Stone is a useful piece of evidence • Tells us that history of Singapore goes a long way back • What else does it tell us?
What do we know about early Singapore history which is factual? • Proven after cross-referencing different sources of evidence ( Serjarah Melayu, artefacts and Wang Dayuan’s written account) • 14th century Singapore was: • A busy trading city • Visited by foreign traders from China, Sri Lanka and around Southeast Asia such as Vietnam and Thailand • Fort Canning area probably was an important place - possibly palace of king and the nobles