Straits Settlements

The Straits Settlements were a group of British territories located in maritime Southeast Asia, then known as the Far East. Headquartered in Singapore for more than a century, it was originally established in 1826 as part of the territories controlled by the British East India Company, the Straits Settlements came under British Raj control in 1858 before being split under direct British control as a crown colony on 1 April 1867. In 1946, following the end of the Second World War and the occupation by Japan, the colony was dissolved as part of the Britain's reorganisation of its dependencies in the area.

Straits Settlements
  • Malay:Negeri-negeri Selat
    Chinese:海峽殖民地, 叻嶼呷, 三州府
    Tamil:நீரிணை தீர்வுகள்
1826–1942[lower-alpha 1]
Coat of arms
Motto: "Dieu et mon droit"
"God and my right"
Anthem: God Save the King
(1826–1837; 1901–1942; 1945–1946)
God Save the Queen (1837–1901)
Malaya in 1922:
  Unfederated Malay States
  Federated Malay States
  Straits Settlements
StatusBritish colony
Official languagesEnglish
Common languages
 1826–1830 (first)
Robert Fullerton
 1934–1946 (last)
Shenton Thomas
Historical eraBritish Empire
17 March 1824
 Established under East India Co. rule
 Converted to Crown colony

1 April 1867
 Labuan incorporated
1 January 1907
15 February 1942
 Formal surrender by Japan to British Military Administration
12 September 1945
1 April 1946
15 July 1946
Preceded by
Succeeded by
History of Penang#Early days
Founding of modern Singapore
Dutch Malacca
Johor Sultanate
Japanese occupation of Singapore
Japanese occupation of Malaysia
Malayan Union
Colony of Singapore
Colony of Malacca
Colony of Penang
Today part ofSingapore

The Straits Settlements originally consisted of the four individual settlements of Penang, Malacca, Dinding and most importantly Singapore—its capital and was nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East". The latter, having been the most developed settlement including its port, was a major British asset in the area and was the key strategy to British imperial interwar defence planning.

Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands were added in 1886. The island of Labuan, off the coast of Borneo, was also incorporated into the colony with effect from 1 January 1907, becoming a separate settlement within it in 1912. Dinding was returned to native rule in 1935. The Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island were transferred to Australia from Singapore in 1955 and 1958 respectively, with the latter being compensated $20 million. Their administration was subsequently combined in 1996 to form the Australian Indian Ocean Territories.