The first known written account of the island of Singapore was by a Chinese explorer in the 3rd century AD. In a strategic location at the tip of the Malay peninsula, the island is likely to have been a port of call for sailors navigating the Melaka straits, although there is no evidence of settlement until the town of Temasek was described in the 13th century. Temasek was controlled by the Srivijaya Empire, centred on Palembang in Sumatra, during the 14th century, before falling to the Javanese Majapahit Empire. When Sultan Iksander Shah founded the Melaka Sultanate in the 1390s, he established a trading post on Singapore Island. After Portuguese forces sacked Melaka in 1511 the island came under the influence of the newly created Johor Sultanate. In 1613 Singapore’s main settlement was burnt down by Portuguese raiders and the island slipped into obscurity, with the ports of Melaka and Johor dominating the lucrative shipping routes that linked Europe and India with China and the East Indies.
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