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Tanjong Pagar (original name Salintar or Selintar), street, is located in the Central Region. The once fishing village became a vibrant business location, and today, Tanjong Pagar has one of the world's most famous ports.
Dr John Crawfurd, second Resident of Singapore noted the presence of the Orang Laut or "Sea Nomads" who were fishermen on a visit to Tanjong Pagar in 1822. Originally called Slintar (Selintar), it was a mere fishing village when first identified. In the 1830s, Tanjong Pagar had been an extensive nutmeg plantation with other fruit plantations dotting the land. Its estates were named after various European plantation owners such as Duxton, Spottiswoode, Everton, Raeburn and Guthrie. The later's 12.555 ha (31 acre) nutmeg plantation was called "Guthrie's Village". In 1859, Captain William Cloughton built the first dry dock, "No. 1 Dock". With the advent of steamships in early 1860s and the consequent growth of shipping, wharves were built by the privately owned Tanjong Pagar Dock Company. Tanjong Pagar Road became one of the main thoroughfares for the transportation of goods between the docks and godowns along Singapore River. The development of the "New Harbour" was a major impetus to the economic growth of Tanjong Pagar. In 1905, the government bought over the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company and formed the Tanjong Pagar Dock Board. The operation was taken over by the Singapore Harbour Board in 1912 which gave a major face-lift to the harbour replacing the old wooden wharves with concrete ones and adding the best technology of the day to improve port operations. The Jinriksha Station (1903) and the Singapore Railway Station (1935) were located at Tanjong Pagar.
In the 1955 elections, Lee Kuan Yew of the People's Action Party won the Tanjong Pagar constituency in a 3 cornered fight, securing the largest number of votes for a single candidate in that elections. The first PAP branch was set up in Tanjong Pagar in June 1955 and was headquartered there between 1955-1957. In 1964, the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) replaced the Harbour Board to better manage and upgrade the Port. Singapore's first Container Terminal at Tanjong Pagar was completed in 1972. For many years the Port of Singapore has been known as the world's busiest port.
Chinese names: In Hokkien Tan-jiong pa-kat or in Cantonese Tan-yong pa-kat (phonetic interpretations).
Malay name: Tanjong Pagar is Malay for "cape of stakes", a reference to the wooden stakes propping the kelongs woods referring to the huts built to trap fish. Others have suggested that the name has its roots in folklore. Legend has it that a young boy helped save the coastal village from attacks by a shoal of swordfish. He had suggested setting up a barricade of banana stems along the coast which successfully trapped the fish. Thus the reference to the "cape of stakes".
Ramachandra, S. (1969). Singapore landmark (pp. 41-42). Singapore: Donald Moore.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 RAM)
Tanjong Pagar: A pictorial journey (1819-1989). (1989). Singapore: Tanjong Pagar Citizens' Consultative Committee.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TAN)
Tanjong Pagar: Singapore's cradle of development (pp.13-15). (1989). Singapore: Tanjong Pagar Citizens' Consultative Committee.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TAN)
Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers' Singapore: Then and now (p. 141). Singapore: Landmark Books.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE)
Yeo, B. (1997). Community and change: The Tanjong Pagar Community Club story. Singapore: The Club.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 YEO)
Powell R. (1989). Innovative architecture of Singapore (pp. 156-159). Singapore: Select Books.
(Call no.: RSING 722.4095957 POW)
The information in this article is valid as at 1999 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.