The Raffles Hotel: Home of the Singapore Sling

2002: I worked with a young contractor for a small company in Hialeah, FL. He was born and raised in the Dominican Republic but now lived in Tampa. One of his life stories from his homeland was very profound; a spanish-owned estate in the center of his town, with many many fruit trees, all in a state of disrepair.

The various trees would bear fruit, each in their own season, which fell to the ground and rotted as no one in the town had permission from the absentee landowner to harvest even the fallen fruit.

This happened year after year, feast or famine, until some Americans bought the property and built a hotel. The absolute joy on his face when he spoke of how the Americans put everyone in the town to work. I loved this story. Having heard it more than a few times I never really tired of it.

When the Dutch West India Company governed New Netherland, an incident occurred. An Algonquin girl, a member of Lenni Lenape was murdered for picking and eating the fruit from a Dutchman’s tree. When this Dutchman killed this indian girl, the Lenni Lenape came upon the Dutch colony, fiercely.

Eventually the Dutch could no longer defend themselves from the indigenous peoples, or for that matter, any European power.

New Holland, or Dutch Brazil was wrested from Portugal in 1630. Dutch West India Company set up quarters in Mauritsstad. Yohan Maurits proved to be an excellent governor with relaxed religious tolerance. He went so far as to allow jews who had been forced to convert to return to Judaism.

The sugar producing area would not be Dutch occupied land for long. Dutch West India Company lost control of the colony In 1643 with Portuguese planters revolting and by 1654 the Dutch West India Company had no interests in Brazil. (Many fled northward to New Netherland, introducing slaves into North America. Peter Stuyvesant was the only one called Director General of New Netherland until 1664 and he was the last).

Brazil at the time was the largest sugar producing area in the world and the Dutch took the Portuguese to court and the Treaty of the Hague 1661 was signed wherein the Portuguese were ordered to pay 4,000,000 Portuguese reals to the Dutch over 16 years to cover business losses.

It seemed as if the Dutch presence was basically limited to the Dutch Caribbean. By this time most charters for companies were for periods that were measured in voyages. (Profit in and out; the measurement of success.)

With refugees bringing slaves from Dutch Brazil into New Netherland, Stuyvesant instituted punishment against the Lenni Lenape hostages he held, selling them into slavery within Dutch Caribbean holdings. The Dutch were now well aware of the harsh realities of colonizing North America with the failure of New Netherland.

Three years’ prior to New Netherland becoming a colony on Manhattan Island while the Dutch were exploring their new colony-to-be and searching for a NW passage to India, British East India Company negotiated a foothold on the subcontinent of India. A new era of goods and services trade was dawning.

Establishment of companies by the Portuguese and Danish in the spice islands had begun. England saw that Portugal was more interested in the spice islands than India to which the Portuguese had first claim. These companies were the NGO’s of the day.

Having power to govern, they ran their one-sided trade upon the indigenous worldwide. Hindu word for rule is “raj” – the Company Raj, lasted from 1757 to 1858 and you could say that the company’s hegemony ran a little bit ahead of those times. They expanded their influence in every satrap.

In American colonial days, a certain Francis Edward Rawdon, born at Moira County Down, Ireland, was posted at Boston under the command of Captain Marsden. 5th Regiment of Foots Grenadier Company seeing actions at Lexington, Concord and Bunker’s Hill.

During the second assault against Breed’s Hill, Rawdon took command of the company. General Burgoyne praised him for his most excellent military bearing during the assault in dispatches.

Burgoyne promoted Rawdon to Captain. He is depicted in John Trumbull’s painting “The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill.” Immediately he was appointed Aide-de-camp to General Sir Henry Clinton. On occasion he dined with General Sir Henry Clinton, Admiral Lord Howe, Lord Cornwallis and General Vaughan.

September 15, 1776: a successful amphibious landing was conducted on Manhattan Island led by Admiral Richard Howe and General Sir Henry Clinton. Washington and his generals made the decision to abandon Manhattan Island on September 12.

The main body of the Continental Army had relocated to Harlem Heights and King’s Bridge. The British were so successful with the naval bombardment at Kip’s Bay suppressing any return fire. As the bombardment came to an end, British and Hessian troops came out of the smoke in long boats launched from Long Island.

Washington almost lost a third of his army and nearly got himself killed trying to rally the troops. Coming from Harlem Heights, he was absolutely unsuccessful in restraining let alone, rallying, the retreating militia. Had General Sir Henry Clinton disobeyed Admiral Howe’s orders to wait for the rest of the invading force, the British would have cut off General Israel Putnam’s retreat.

The Americans abandoned supplies and equipment with Putnam and his aide, Aaron Burr, force marched at a quick step, just in front of the advancing British, making the main camp at Harlem after dark.

Rawdon landed with Clinton later in Rhode Island where they secured the New England Ports for the British Navy. Returning to London with General Sir Henry Clinton, Rawdon is said to have met with Lafayette, who was in London, at that time.

Even with all this, he went south and fought in the British southern campaign receiving more personal glory for his actions. A rather distinguished career, Rawdon eventually became ill. He endeavored to sail for home, only to be captured on the high seas, (by Lt. General Des Armees Navales, Francois-Joseph Paul, marquis de Grasse Tilly, come de Grasse, French Admiral, victor of the Battle of the Chesapeake, causing the British surrender at Yorktown).

Rawdon, following his military career in America, came home to England where he cultivated friendships in societies and organizations. Rawdon also fought in the French Revolutionary War Campaigns of 1794. It was his responsibility to provide for the princes of Bourbon at his estate, going so far as to leave a signed cheque book with each guest for their convenience.

Rawdon became Governor General of India which was a company position within the British East India Company. This is the Company Raj. Rawdon commenced war when Britain declared against the Gurkha, ordering troops against Kathmandu, Butwal and Kingdoms in Northern India. Successful and insightful enough, Rawdon, signed the Gurkha into service to the British Crown as mercenaries. The Gurkha have a 200 year tradition within the British troops.

Rawdon, who became later known as the Marquess of Hastings, confirmed the purchase of Singapore by Sir Stanford Raffles in January 1819 which Raffles purchased from the Sultan of Jahore.

The British quickly realized that the Mughals were losing their grip on their northern empire battling with the Maratha Empire. The Maratha are the Hindu warriors largely responsible for ending the Mughals rule in India. By this time, the British were established opium peddlers. They needed to insure success in the supply line. As a side note, could you imagine millions of opium-addicted Chinese, detoxing at roughly the same time? Bad for business!

About this same time, Britain and other European powers are engaged against a re-emerging Napoleon and his French Grande Armee just south of Brussels.

Napoleon’s final defeat culminated in the epic Battle of Waterloo, 1815. When the British say they’re going to go to the “loo” it means a trip to the toilet. It has nothing to do with Waterloo but rather, the manipulation of the market in war bonds by a certain British banking house. Today software is a far cry from carrier pigeons. Apparently, Marquess of Hastings (Rawdon) was “plugged in” to the monied elite of the day through his contacts in societies and lodges.

With all the history of commerce in the modern world, the most common tool of commerce is war. The Settlers of North America, particularly, the United States, owe their storied history in no small part to the avarice of the British Empire.

North America was totally undeveloped, uncivilized and vast. Subjugation of an armed populace was not financially feasible. Quick gains in other lands presented themselves. They would subvert their english speaking cousins at a later date and gain monetarily from the complete subjugation of vast amounts of land and peoples.

Owing to half-hearted attempts by Britain to subjugate the citizens of the United States, we again had war with Britain in 1812. America had done well for itself, in no small part, due to the international nature of British trade.

Even our language was common and accepted as the “language of trade” in all seaports. After our civil war, which Britain was responsible for fomenting on both sides, they sent emissaries of the British banking families with guidelines to conduct “business” in America and to disrupt Americanism and reintroduce European thought. Within 6 years of the War Between the States, America enjoyed 143 years as the world’s #1 economy (1871-2014).

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