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William Farquhar


1774 - 1839

Founder and first colonial administrator of Singapore. Born at Newhall, Aberdeenshire, Farquhar joined the military service of the British East India Company at the age of 17 and took part in a number of actions in the sub-continent in the early 1790s. He was involved in the taking of Malacca from the Dutch in 1795 and by 1803 was Commandant, spending the next 15 years successfully running that colony despite considerable difficulties. With Stamford Raffles, he established the trading colony of Singapore. Raffles departed to continue building his reputation leaving Farquhar in charge. Farquhar took a laissez-faire approach, which he felt was most likely to promote growth and economic development, but when Raffles returned in 1822 it was clear he did not approve. He arranged to have Farquhar replaced by another Scot, John Crawfurd (1783 - 1868). Farquhar was most unhappy, initially refusing to leave and later suing Raffles for his autocratic behaviour. He finally left in December 1823, was given the rank of Major-General and returned to Britain, where he settled in Perth in 1829. He died at his home, Early Bank, and was buried in Greyfriars churchyard, in a splendid mausoleum.


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