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Singapore - Southeast Asia's mighty city-state

Singapore was founded by the British in 1819 as a trading post. In 1963 it became a member of the newly established state of Malaysia, but declared itself independent after two years. Early Chinese writings from the 3rd century described the islands as "Pu-luo-chung", an island at the end of the peninsula. The name Singapore comes from the Indian Sanskrit and is composed of Singha ("lion") and Pura ("city"), which means lion city. The city-state has around 5.3 million residents, of which only around 3 million are citizens of the island state.


Singapore is a multicultural city. Four languages are officially spoken, Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil. The residents of Singapore are consistently multilingual and almost everyone speaks English.

In the north, Singapore is separated from mainland Malaysia by the approximately 1,000 m wide Strait of Johor.

There are currently two land connections across the road from Johor to Malaysia:

  • an artificial dam inaugurated in 1924, which leads from the Malay city of Johor Bahru to Singapore. A road and rail link and a water pipeline run across the dam, through which Singapore receives part of its water needs.
  • to relieve this dam, a bridge was built around 20 kilometers southwest of it, which connects the city of Tanjong Kupan in Malaysia with Tuas in Singapore.

In the south, the Strait of Singapore separates the island nation from Indonesia (Sumatra).

Due to its strategic location, Singapore has one of the largest ports in the world. With the exception of bulk goods such as coal, sand, grain and oil, goods are now transported worldwide by sea in well-sealed containers with internationally standardized standard sizes. These are 8 feet wide, 8.6 feet high, and 20 or 40 feet long. In 2005 around 21.5 million TEU (twenty foot equivalent units = 20 foot (container) units) were handled in the port of Singapore. This puts Singapore in second place worldwide after Hong Kong (around 22 million TEU)

Name of the country Republic of Singapore
Form of government Parliamentary republic
Geographical location around 1 north latitude

around 104 east longitude

National anthem Majula Singapura, Forward Singapore
Population 5.5 million (Credit: Countryaah: Singapore Population)
Surface 712.5 km²
Ethnicities Chinese around 77%, Malays 14%, Indians 8%, others 1%
Religions Buddhists around 43%, Muslims 15%, Taoists 8%, Hindus 4%, Catholics 5%, other Christians 10%, other religions 1%, atheists 14%
Languages The four official languages of Singapore are: English, Chinese (Mandarin), Malay and Tamil.
Capital Singapore
Surface around 648 km²
Highest mountain Timah with a height of 166 m
Longest river Seletar with a length of around 15 km
International license plate SGP
National currency Singapore Dollar (SGD)
Time difference to CET + 7 h
International phone code +65
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .sg

Singapore: history

Until around the year 1000

In the 7th century the Malays founded a settlement called Temasek, which means sea town.

From the year 1000 to the 17th century

According to Abbreviationfinder website, the peninsula of Malaysia and the islands of Singapore have always served the northern peoples from China and India as a gateway to Southeast Asia and the Pacific region. Indian traders arrived in the region even before our era, bringing scripture, religion, Buddhism and Bramanism as well as a calendar system with them to the region.

With the increase in international trade from the 5th century in Southeast Asia, which stretched from India to Europe, the peninsula and the Strait of Malacca became an area of strategic importance for global trade at the time.

Malacca (in the western part of what is now Malaysia) developed into the dominant place in the region, which was increasingly Islamized.

Singapore: history

Almost all trading nations tried to gain a foothold in the region.

In 1511 Malacca was occupied by the Portuguese. Then the Malays fled to Singa Pura, today's Singapore, and build a new trading center.

In the 19th century

Singapore was founded in 1819 as a trading branch of the British East India Company by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1781 - 1826). The foundation was sealed by a contract between the British company and the Sultan of Johor.

This ceded the island in 1824 to the East India Company (Est India Company) for a price of 60,000 pounds and an annual pension of 24,000 pounds.

In the following years the so-called Strait Settlements, settlements on the Strait of Malacca, were expanded. These were Singapore as well as Melakka and Penang, located in what is now Malaysia. Singapore developed more and more into the base of the British fleet.

In 1832 the three branches of the British Crown Administration of Bengal in India were subordinated.

In 1967 Singapore became a British crown colony.

Immigrants from China and India poured into Singapore around 1874.

In 1885 a federation of four sultanates was founded under British protection, from which Malaysia later developed.

20th century

The Japanese occupied Singapore in 1942. The British took over the regiment there in 1945 after the Japanese had capitulated. The following year, 1946, Singapore became a British crown colony, which was allowed internal self-government in 1958.

The first parliamentary elections in Singapore were held in 1959, and Lee Kuan Yew emerged from these as the first Prime Minister.

In 1963 the Malaysia Federation, which included Singapore, was established. The federation was independent from Great Britain.

However, Singapore soon left the federation and declared its independence as a republic on August 9, 1965. Singapore became the 22nd member of the Commonwealth.

In 1971 the British Far East High Command withdrew from the city-state.

Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew resigned in 1990 after a 31-year tenure.

His successor was Goh Chok Tong. This was confirmed in the first direct election as Prime Minister in 1993.

In the 2004 election, Lee Hsien Loong emerged as the third prime minister.





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