British Bencoolen

British Bencoolen was a British possession in Sumatra based in the area of what is now Bengkulu City. The British East India Company (EIC) established a presence there in 1685,[1] and in 1714 the EIC built Fort Marlborough there.

Bencoolen Residency
Residency of British Empire
  TypeResidency of British India
17 March 1824
Succeeded by
Dutch East Indies
Today part of Indonesia

Originally a Presidency within British India, in 1785 it was downgraded to Bencoolen Residency and placed under the Bengal Presidency.[2]

On 15 October 1817, Stamford Raffles was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen. During his time as Lieutenant-Governor, Raffles enacted major reforms, including the abolition of slavery, as well as creating Singapore to provide a new trading port in the region.

In 1823, Singapore was removed from the control of Bencoolen.[3] The British ceded Bencoolen to the Netherlands in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824.[4]


  1. Olson JS, Shadle R, editors. Historical Dictionary of the British Empire, Volume 2. page 1074 (at entry for Sumatra). Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996. ISBN 9780313293672
  3. Kevin YL Tan. The Singapore Legal System.
  4. Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 34.

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