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While the earliest known historical records of Singapore are shrouded in the mists of time, a third century Chinese account describes it as "Pu-luo-chung", or the "island at the end of a peninsula".  Later, the city was known as Temasek ("Sea Town"), when the first settlements were established from AD 1298-1299.

During the 14th century, this small but strategically located island earned a new name. According to the legend, Sang Nila Utama, a Prince from Palembang (the capital of Srivijaya), was out on a hunting trip when he caught sight of an animal he had never seen before. Taking it to be a good sign, he founded a city where the animal had been spotted, naming it “The Lion City” or Singapura, from the Sanskrit words “simha” (lion) and “pura” (city).

At this time, the city was then ruled by the five kings of ancient Singapura. Located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, the natural meeting point of sea routes, the city served as a flourishing trading post for a wide variety of sea crafts, from Chinese junks, Indian vessels, Arab dhows and Portuguese battleships to Buginese schooners. Read more...

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