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According to legend, Sang Nila Utama, also known as Sri Tri Buana, was a prince from Palembang who founded ancient Singapore. According to the Malay Annals, the prince ruled the island from 1299 to 1347.

The Founding Of Temasek (Singapore)

Sang Nila Utama was a prince of Palembang, which was then the capital of the Srivijayan empire. Wanting to find a suitable place for a new city, he decided to visit the islands off the coast of Sumatra. He set sail in a number of ships. He and his men reached the Riau Islands and were welcomed by the queen. A few days later, Sang Nila Utama went to a nearby island on a hunting trip.

While hunting, he spotted a deer and started chasing it. He came to a very large rock and decided to climb it. When he reached the top, he looked across the sea and saw another island with a sandy beach which had the appearance of a white sheet of cloth.

Asking one of his ministers what land it was, he was told that it was the island of Temasek. He then decided to visit Temasek. However, when his ship was out into the sea, a great storm blew up and the ship was tossed about in the huge waves. The ship began to take in water.

To prevent it from sinking, his men threw all the heavy things on board into the sea to lighten the ship. But still water kept entering the ship and Sang Nila Utama, on the advice of a ship's officer, threw his heavy crown overboard. At once, the storm died down and he reached Temasek safely.

He landed at the mouth of the present-day Singapore River and went inland to hunt wild animals. Suddenly, he saw a strange animal with a red body, black head and a white breast. It was a fine-looking animal and moved with great speed as it disappeared into the jungle.

He asked his chief minister what animal it was, and was told that it probably was a lion. However, recent studies of Singapore indicate that lions have never lived there (not even Asiatic lions), and the beast seen by Sang Nila Utama was likely a tiger, most likely the Malayan Tiger.[1][2] He was pleased with this as he believed it to be a good omen - a sign of good fortune coming his way. Thus, he decided to build his new city in Temasek. He and his men stayed on the island and founded a city.

He named this city "Singapura". "Singa" means lion and "pura" means city. The name thus means the Lion City. Sang Nila Utama ruled Singapura for 48 years and was buried on Bukit Larangan (present-day Fort Canning Hill).

See also


  1. ^ "Studying In Singapore". Search Singapore Pte Ltd. Retrieved 2006-04-14.  
  2. ^ "Sang Nila Utama" (PDF). 24hr Art.'s/Utama_Every.pdf. Retrieved 2006-04-14.  

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