The establishment of the Straits Settlements followed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, by which the Malay archipelago was divided into a British zone in the north and a Dutch zone in the south. This resulted the exchange of the British settlement of Bencoolen for the Dutch colony of Malacca and for undisputed control of Singapore. Its capital was originally in Penang, but was moved to Singapore in 1832.
The colony was dissolved in 1946, when Singapore became a separate crown colony, while Penang and Malacca joined the Malayan Union, which eventually became Malaysia. Christmas Island and the Cocos Islands came under Australian administration, while Labuan became part of British North Borneo, later also part of Malaysia.
For various reasons, the English East India Company had for some time been considering the establishment of a factory near the Straits of Melaka.
Raffles was inclined to attempt to open the Straits of Melaka by arranging to exchange Bencoolen for Melaka and establishing a new port at Riau if this could be done without a quarrel with the Dutch.
He had recently visited Riau and made a commercial treaty with the Sultan and Raja Muda there, but this had resulted in the Dutch occupying the island and forcing the Malay rulers to promise to exclude all other nations from their dominions.
STRAITSSETTLEMENTS, the collective name given to the crown colony formed by the British possessions on or adjacent to the mainland of the Malay Peninsula, as opposed to the Federated Malay States, the British protectorates in the same region.
The StraitsSettlements consist of the island of Singapore with about a score of islets of insignificant size lying in its immediate vicinity, of the town and territory of Malacca, the islands and territory of the Dindings, the island of Penang, sometimes officially called Prince of Wales Island, and Province Wellesley.
The colony of the StraitsSettlements is administered by the governor with the aid of an executive council, composed wholly of official members, and there is a legislative council, composed partly of official and partly of nominated members, of which the former have a narrow permanent majority.
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