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Formation of the Straits Settlements 1826

In 1826, the East India Company united the settlements of Singapore, Malacca and Penang to form the Presidency of the Straits Settlements.[1] This presidency was abolished in 1830 and the Straits Settlements became a residency[2] that was dependent on the Presidency of Bengal, under the governor-general of India in Calcutta.[3] In 1851, the Straits Settlements was removed from the Bengal presidency and brought directly under the governor-general.[4] When the East India Company was abolished in 1858, the administration of India was transferred to the British Crown and the Straits Settlements continued to be ruled from Calcutta.[5] However, the colonial administration in Calcutta was too far away from and unfamiliar with conditions in the settlements. It failed to understand and respond quickly to the needs of the local population. The Straits Settlements agitated for a transfer to the Colonial Office and came under direct British control as a crown colony on 1 April 1867.[6]

1. Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. St. J. (Eds.). (1991). One hundred years of Singapore  (Vol. 1, p.81). Singapore: Oxford University Press. Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS].
2. Makepeace, Brooke & Braddell,1991, Vol. 1, p. 22; Tan, K. Y. L. (Ed.). (1999). The Singapore legal system (p. 232). Singapore: Singapore University Press. Call no.: RSING 349.5957 SIN.
3. Jarman, J. L. (Ed). (1998). Annual reports of the Straits Settlements 1855–1941 (Vol 1: 1855–1867, pp. 3–4). Slough, UK: Archive Editions. Call no.: RSING English 959.51 STR.
4. Jarman, 1998, p. 4; Government notification. (1851, September 19). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1835–1869), p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Makepeace, Brooke & Braddell, 1991, Vol. 1, p. 22.
6. Makepeace, Brooke & Braddell, 1991, Vol. 1, p. 23; Great Britain. India Office. (1862). East India (Straits Settlements): “Copies of all correspondence between the Government of India and the Secretary of India and the Colonial Office, and any other departments of the Government, relative to the proposed transfer of the Straits Settlements to the Colonial Office:”and,of any communications from parties in this country to the Colonial Office on the same subject.” [Microfilm: NL 24317] (p. 3). London: HMSO.


The information in this article is valid as at 2011 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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