The island was shown as a mangrove marsh in an 1839 map. Subsequent maps have shown it to be located closer to the northern bank of the river. It was first featured by name as Kampong Saigon on a map of 1878.
In 1888, British projects to increase the width and depth of the Singapore River made it easier to access existing warehouses on Pulau Saigon, which in turn made other parts of the island commercially viable. Quays and bridges were built and many of the island's original buildings were demolished and replaced by those from new industries ranging from slaughtering cattle, manufacturing pottery, and burning rubbish. These former industrial enterprises of Pulau Saigon make it useful for archaeological study.
Pulau Saigon became an extension of the mainland when the western arm of the river was drained in 1972. By 1988, the only extant buildings at Pulau Saigon were old warehouses in disrepair. In 1991, the eastern arm of the river was drained as well and the island was completely merged with the mainland at Magazine road. It is no longer depicted on modern maps of Singapore.
- Ong, Cheryl (3 May 2012). "Diversion of river yields gem of a chance" (PDF). The Straits Times. Retrieved 2 May 2016 – via National University of Singapore.
- Barry, Jennifer (2000). Pulau Saigon: a post-eighteenth century archaeological assemblage recovered from a former island in the Singapore River. Stamford: Rheidol Press. ISBN 0953268519.
- Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society. Volume 65. The Society. 2000. pp. 74, 78.
- "The Library of Pulau Saigon". community.nus.edu.sg. National University of Singapore. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
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