Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, an English official, born at sea, off Jamaica, July 5, 1781, died July 4, 1826. He was an assistant clerk in the India house at the age of 15, and in 1805 was appointed under secretary to the new government formed by the East India company at Penang. In 1807 he became chief secretary; but intense application to business affected his health, and in 1808 he was compelled to go to Malacca. By his advice an expedition was fitted out against Batavia in 1811, and when that place was captured he was appointed lieutenant governor of Java and its dependencies. He held this office for five years, during which slavery was abolished. He was knighted in 1817. In 1818 he was made lieutenant governor of Fort Marlborough at Bencoolen, Sumatra, and remained there six years, emancipating the slaves. He established the British settlement at Singapore, and founded a college there for the encouragement of Anglo-Chinese and Malay literature. The state of his health compelled him in 1824 to resign and return to England. On his homeward voyage his ship was burned, and his natural history collections were lost. He founded the zoölogical society, and was its first president.
He published a "History of Java" (2 vols. 4to, London, 1817), and "Malayan Miscellanies" (2 vols. 8vo, Bencoolen, 1820-'22). His "Life and Remains" was edited by his widow (4to, 1830).