- Temasek was the earliest recorded name of a settlement on the site of modern Singapore
- It is written as 淡马锡 in Chinese (pronounced Danmaxi in Mandarin)
- From the 14th century, the island has also been known as Singapura, which is derived from Sanskrit and means "Lion City"
- Legend has it that the name was given by Sang Nila Utama when he visited the island in 1344 and saw an unknown creature, which looked like a lion
- While the early history of Singapore is obscured by myth and legend, some conclusions can be drawn from archaeological evidence and from written references by travellers
- Archaeology points to an urbanised settlement on the site by the 14th century
- Allusions by travellers gave some evidence that there may have been a city or town present as early as the 2nd century
- At its height, the city boasted a large earthen city wall and moat; many of the buildings were built with stone and brick foundations
- Remains of old pottery, coins, jewellery and other artifacts have been found, with many of these artifacts believed to be imported from various parts of China, India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia
- These are sometimes seen as evidence of the city's status as a regional trade centre
- An aquatic route, part of the larger Silk route, passed through Temasek
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