Singapore, now with a population of nearly 6 million and one of the most densely populated city-states of the world, was created as a trading post by the East India Company. It was the brainchild of Sir Stamford Raffles.
Raffles was once a clerk at East India House aged 14, who rose to become Governor of Java by the age of just 30, ruling over 5 million people.
He decided that The Company needed a secure position at the head of the Straits of Malacca where the Dutch were behaving aggressively [perhaps provoked…] now in possession of Malacca itself.
Raffles chose Sinhapura, a tiny island on the tip of the Malay Peninsula, and in 1819 struck a deal with the Sultan of Johore and raised the British flag. Malays and Chinese arrived immediately, building a population of 5,000 before the Company in London even knew about it.
By 1857, the total trade of Singapore was £10m. Today, £700 billion.