Stamford Raffles, best known as the 'founder' of Singapore, is since long a glamorous name and considered the flagship of British imperialism in Southeast Asia. He was born in 1781 on a British trade ship at the coast of Jamaika as the son of the Captain and a Dutch woman.
At the age of fourteen he became a clerk in the British East India Company. In 1805 the company sent him to Penang Island (in that time called 'Prince of Wales Island'), near the west coast of Malaysia in the Strait of Mallacca.
From 1806 on Napoleon Bonaparte's France conquered great parts of continental Europe, including the Netherlands. As a reaction on that the British sent a military expedition and took over the Dutch colonies in the 'East Indies', nowadays Indonesia, respective parts of it. After the conquest, in 1811, Raffles became, after a quick row of promotions, Lieutenant-governor of Java.