Modern Singapore is a metropolis on all counts. However, since the early 19th century, the island has been an important hub for various reasons. From 1832 to 1946, Singapore was the seat of the British colonial government and administrative centre of the Straits Settlements. Thanks to its strategic location, Singapore had also been an entrepot trade hub. Following the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Singapore became a major port of call – ships from Europe and India sailing to East Asia, or vice versa, would pass through Singapore. Given its political and commercial importance, Singapore’s development as a metropolis was given great impetus.