The Republic of Singapore has a detailed and interesting history. The city-state features a unique blend of both the past and the future and is considered to be one of the most diverse cities in the world.
It is believed that the first inhabitants of the island chain arrived sometime near the 2nd century AD, travelers from a Sumatran Srivijaya Empire. The first known outpost on Singapore was named Temasek, which stood for ‘sea town’. Since that time the island has been part of a number of different empires. The Sultanate of Johor claimed the island as part of their empire from the early 16th century until the early part of the 19th century. The island suffered a terrible blow in 1613, when Portuguese raiders attacked and burned the city. The islands remained obscure from the world for another 2 centuries until it gained the attention of Britain’s East India Trading Company, who wished to use the island as a trading outpost. The island was named an East India Trading Company port city in 1819 when the Sultan Hussein Shah signed an agreement with a representative of the trade conglomerate. The island was further developed at this time into a center for trade.
The island was taken over by British rule completely in 1824. In 1826 the islands of Singapore were named part of Britain’s Straits Settlements. During WWII it was overtaken and occupied by the Japanese, following the Battle of Singapore. The battle was very intense and the British army loses were high. The British Army was forced to surrender Singapore to the Japanese in 1943. It remained in the hands of the Japanese until the war ended with the Japanese surrendered to the Allied Forces in 1945. The British were eventually able to reclaim the city as their own.
It was during this that people of Singapore began to fight for independence. In 1959 the elected leaders of Singapore convinced the British Empire to grant them independence. Singapore officially claimed independence from British rule on August 31, 1963, and joined the Federation of Malaysia. Two years later Singapore broke away from this Federation and become a sovereign city-state in 1965. Since then the city has remained an independent nation.
Since the end of the 1960’s, Singapore has seen tremendous growth in its city and its economy. It is now considered to be one of the Four Asian Tigers. It contains one of the five busiest ports in the world. It also features a heavy industry center and a large tourism economy. The diverse country is home to a number of different ethnicities, the most prominent are the Chinese, the original inhabitants known as the Malay and a large Indian population. 42% of the city-state is comprised of foreign-born people, adding a host of new cultures to the area.
Today Singapore is home to a bustling economic center and houses many cultural and historical museums and theaters. The conservative culture has begun to lighten up slightly over time and the city now offers casinos, nightclubs and a Universal Studios theme park. Singapore truly is one of the most interesting places on earth to visit