by Kwa Chong Guan, Derek Heng, Peter Borschberg, Tan Tai Yong
Published by National Library Board, Singapore
Assessments of Singapore’s history invariably revolve around Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival in 1819. Before this date – we’ve been told – “nothing very much appears to have happened in Singapore”. Pre-1819 Singapore was a sleepy, historically insignificant fishing village, little more than the “occasional resort of pirates”. This ambitious book, co-written by four of Singapore’s foremost historians, offers an assertive re-evaluation of that view, firmly situating Singapore’s starting point seven hundred years ago. Drawing on a multi-disciplinary range of archival, textual and cartographical records, as well as the latest archaeological discoveries, the authors cast a singular historical trajectory for Singapore over the past seven centuries, animating its history like never before. Written in a compelling and accessible manner, and richly illustrated with more than 200 artefacts, photographs, maps, art works and ephemera, this volume builds upon the foundations of an earlier book, Singapore: A 700-Year History. Extensively rewritten to incorporate ground-breaking research findings, Seven Hundred Years: A History of Singapore widens the historical lens and offers a vital new perspective on the story of Singapore.