There was more to the foundation of the British colony of Singapore in 1819 than a stroke of brilliance by Thomas Stamford Raffles, who is usually credited with the creation of the city. We are occasionally apt to forget that the city is located in Asia and is largely populated by Asians. At the time, it was also a vital part of the Asian maritime economy and should be seen as the heir of a long line of Asian maritime trading centers located in or near the Straits of Melaka. Singapore’s history, properly understood, can be traced back to the Malay entrepôts of Srivijaya and Melaka. Moreover, it is clear from recent archaeological work that the island itself was the site of an entrepôt that flourished as early as the fourteenth century (Miksic 1985). Between then and the nineteenth century, there was always an important Malay entrepôt in the immediate vicinity. Whether at Riau, on the island of Bentan, on the Johor River or at Melaka itself, this part of the Straits was an area of vibrant economic activity.