Singapore was known as Temasek (Dan Ma Si meaning sea town) to the Chinese traders around 14th Century.  It became commonly known as Singapura (Lion City) when a Javanese ruler sighted an animal thinking it to be a lion and decided to name the island with its current name. The British made their presence felt by early 19th Century, realizing the potential this tiny island has for being a great trading sea port. So in 1819, the British together with an agreement from the local authority (ruler of the island was known as Temengong) founded their first settlement.

Singapore History Info