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Singapore attains crown colony status 1st Apr 1867

The Straits Settlements, which comprised Singapore, Malacca and Penang, became a crown colony under direct British control on 1 April 1867.

The impetus for the conversion of the Straits Settlements into a crown colony was prompted by growing dissatisfaction with the Indian administration over issues such as piracy, port duties, currency, the transportation of convicts, as well as delays in judicial reforms.[1] The sentiment then was that the Indian government based in Calcutta had failed to give adequate attention to the affairs of the Straits Settlements.[2]

Discontent came to a head in August 1857 when Singapore merchants not only backed the petition by European merchants in Calcutta for the abolition of the East India Company, but also requested that the Straits Settlements be separated from India and administered directly by the Colonial Office in London.[3]

After a series of protracted negotiations, an act was eventually passed on 10 August 1866 to authorise the administrative transfer to the Colonial Office and provide for the creation of the government of the Straits Settlements.[4] The act came into effect on 1 April the following year, when a ceremony was held at the Town Hall in Singapore to mark the formal transfer of the Straits Settlements from the jurisdiction of British India to the direct administration of the Crown.[5] Harry St. George Ord was appointed the first governor of the new crown colony.[6]

1. Turnbull, C.  M. (2009). A history of modern Singapore, 1819–2005 (p. 86). Singapore: NUS Press. Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR.
Buckley, C. B. (1984). An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore 1819–1867 (p. 754). Singapore: Oxford University Press. Call no.: RSING 959.57 BUC-[HIS].
3. Buckley, 1984, pp. 755–758.
4. Buckley, 1984, p. 780.
5. Buckley, 1984, pp. 786–787.
6. Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. (1991). One hundred years of Singapore (p. 94). Singapore: Oxford University Press. Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS].


The information in this article is valid as at 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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