Temasek ('Sea Town' in Javanese, spelt "Tumasik"; zh-s|s=淡马锡) was the name of an early city on the site of modern Singapore. From the 14th century, the island is also known as Singapura, which is derived from Sanskrit and means "Lion City". Legend has it that the name was given by Sang Nila Utama when he visited the island in 1299 and saw an unknown creature which he probably mistook as a lion [] .

While the early history of Singapore is obscured by myth and legend, some conclusions can be drawn from archaeological evidence and from written references by travelers. Archaeology points to an urbanised settlement on the site by the fourteenth century. Allusions by travelers give some evidence that there may have been a city or town present as early as the second century. At its height, the city boasted a large earthen city wall and moat; many of the buildings were built with stone and brick foundations. Remains of old pottery, coins, jewellery and other artifacts have been found, with many of these artifacts believed to be imported from various parts of China, India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. These are sometimes seen as evidence of the city's status as a regional trade centre. An aquatic route which is part of the larger Silk route, passes through Temasek.

From the seventh to the thirteenth centuries, the island of Singapore was controlled by the Srivijaya empire based in Sumatra. By the emergence of Temasek as a fortified city and trading centre 14th century, the Srivijaya empire was in a long period of decline. The city then changed hands several times before coming under the influence of the Sultanate of Malacca in the fifteenth century. After the fall of Malacca to the Portuguese in 1511, the island came under the control of the Malay Sultanate of Johor.

Singapore's national honours

The Republic's two most important national honours are titled Bintang Temasek ("The Star of Temasek" for acts of exceptional courage and skill or exhibited conspicuous devotion to duty in circumstances of extreme danger) and the Darjah Utama Temasek ("Order of Temasek", for outstanding and exceptional contributions to the country).

Other institutions that bear the name:
* Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, at National University of Singapore
* Temasek Laboratories, at Nanyang Technological University
* Temasek Polytechnic
* Temasek Junior College
* Temasek Secondary School
* Temasek Tower

External links

* [ A History of the Lion City] - Chapter from an online textbook.

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