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In 1822 Raffles created a first botanical garden on Fort Canning Hill, which was suspended right after his death in 1829.
The Singapore Agri-Horticultural Society developed a recreational park in 1859 on the site of today's Garden. The park was given to the colonial government in 1874 and was since managed by professional botanists. Henry Riley (1888-1911), the first director, famously participated in spreading the rubber plant in Malaya, which had been secretely smuggled out of Brazil. The Botanic Garden made a highly profitable business by selling seedlings during the years of the rubber-boom.
In 1928 Director Eric Holttum (1925-1949) established the first laboratories for orchid breeding and hyridization, which also became a literally blooming business. The Botanical Gardens take pride in breeding amongst others the national flower of Singapore, which was discovered by the Armenian Agnes Joaquim, and named after her "Vanda Miss Joaquim".
(Information: Botanic Gardens' Website)
The name of the region derives from the lawyer William Napier's estate, which was built in 1854 and named "Tang Lend". This name is probably an awkward transferal from the Chinese "twa tang leng", meaning "great eastern hilltops".
Chinese settlers reclaimed the tiger-ridden land and planted mainly pepper and nutmeg plants. They were followed by Europeans, predominantly Scots, who also planted spice gardens.
During the 1860s the colonial government bought land in Tanglin to build army quarters, the Tanglin Camp.
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