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Home > Our Stories > JSS in the Spotlight > Singapore history did not start with Raffles

Singapore history did not start with Raffles

Mr Danny Cha, 36, subject head for history at Bukit Batok Secondary (left), and Mr Muhammad Faidzil Farkhan, 28, history teacher at Jurong Secondary, reading the new history textbook for Secondary 1 students. On the laptop screen is the home page of HistorySG. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

By Pearl Lee - The Straits Times (29 May 2014)

STUDENTS might have learnt that Singapore was a sleepy fishing village transformed into a vibrant trading port by Sir Stamford Raffles in the 19th century.

But the country's trading days started some 500 years earlier, in the 1300s, as a major "emporium" in the maritime trade between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

The National Library Board (NLB) hopes to get people acquainted with its rich history before the British arrived, with the launch yesterday of the HistorySG online portal.

"Singapore history deserves to have far more exploration and far more angles and perspectives. As librarians, it is always important to give people as much resources as possible," said Mr Gene Tan, director of the NLB.

Without enough resources, people "tend to sometimes come to quite quick conclusions about Singapore history", he said at a symposium held by the Education Ministry and attended by 200 history teachers.

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