Singapore dollar

Name of currency: Singapore dollar

Country / countries used: Singapore, Brunei

Symbol: S$

Brief history:

The first settlements that we are aware of in area we now call Singapore were in the second century AD. It was used as a base for the ‘Sumatran Srivijaya empire’, and they named it ‘Temasek’ meaning ‘sea town’. From then throughout the 16th century and even up until the early 19th century, it was part of the ‘Sultanate of Johor’ an empire that stretched across the majority of Malaysia from the eastern most peninsulas to islands that are now part of Indonesia. As this reign ended due to the invasion of the Portuguese In 1613, raiders burnt down the outpost and the island descended into anonymity for almost two centuries.

Skipping forward to the arrival of Thomas Stamford Raffles (after which the famous raffles hotel is named after) in 1819, he arrived to sign an agreement with the ruler of the time ‘Sultan Hussein Shah’ on behalf of the British East India Company to cultivate southern Singapore developing it into a British trading post, this lead to the entire island becoming under British possession in 1824, following a further treaty with the Sultan. Eventually becoming part of the Straits Settlements and therefore under the jurisdiction of British India in 1826 and in 1836 actually progressing to become the capital of the Straits Settlements.

From 1845 like most British colonies, Singapore used the straits dollar as its principal currency and for money exchange; this was replaced in 1939 along with its independence, as it became a Malaysian state, and so adopted the Malaysian dollar for money exchange purposes. Only lasting 2 years as irreconcilable differences between the Singapore and Malaysian governments meant that Singapore went in its own direction to create an entirely separate country thus giving birth to the Singapore dollar although they were originally often referred to as the ‘orchids’ started to be produces in 1967 decorated aptly with pictures of an orchid come in various denominations ranging widely from one to one thousand dollars and coinage from 1 cent through to $1. The Singapore dollar however was still of equal value with the Malaysian ringgit in terms of money exchange until 1973.

Initially the Singapore dollar was pegged with the sterling pound, this lasted up until the conclusion of the sterling area in the beginning of the 1970’s, following that it was associated with the US dollar for a short time but Singapore’s economy continued to grow and they headed towards becoming pegged against a constant, unspecified trade-weighted basket of currencies from 1973 to 1985.