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History of Chinatown
Back in the 19th century, the concept of a Chinese Town was first conceived by Sir Stamford Raffles. Dissatisfied with the haphazard way the settlement around Singapore River and Boat Quay had developed with the sudden influx of immigrants mainly from China, Stamford Raffles issued a plan proposing a Chinese Kampong to the Town Planning Committee in 1822.
Raffles separated the early Chinese immigrants according to provinces of origin and also by what the British perceived to be different classes. Thus Hokkiens occupied Telok Ayer Street, China Street and Chulia Street; Teochew-speaking Chinese occupied Circular Road, Boat Quay and South Bridge Road; and the Cantonese occupied mainly Kreta Ayer, Upper Cross Street, New Bridge Road, Bukit Pasoh and parts of South Bridge Road. This arrangement contributes to the reason why today one may encounter a different speaking dialect group in each different part of Chinatown.
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