The statue of Sir Stamford Thomas Raffles (1781-1826) located at Boat Quay marks that part of the river bank where he was said to have first landed on 28th January 1819. This spot is also known as Raffles' landing site.
Raffles, an agent of the British East India Company, ventured to Singapore hoping to establish a free port and a halfway point for traders along China-India trade routes. After signing the preliminary treaty with Temenggong Abdul Rahman, the official treaty with Sultan Hussein of Johore-Riau was signed on 6 February 1819, giving the British the right to establish a trading port on the island.
From the 19th Century, Singapore's success as the "Great Commercial Emporium of the East" owed much to its free port status and strategic location. The Singapore River became the main artery of trade, where port, trading and warehouse facilities developed along the riverbanks.
In 1867, Singapore became a British Crown Colony after the transfer of the Straits Settlements from the British Administration in India to the Colonial Office in London. It remained so until 1959 when Singapore achieved self-government.
Sir Stamford Raffles genius and perception changed the destiny of Singapore from an obscure fishing village to a great seaport and modern metropolis what we see today.