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By 1832, the island became the center of government of the Straits Settlements (British territories in Southeast Asia) of Malacca, Penang, and Singapore.
In 1941, during the Second World War, the island was invaded by Japan and continued to remain under its control until the end of the war in 1945. Singapore was then handed over to the British Military Administration and it became a crown colony in 1946.
During the 50s, the wave of nationalism lashed the shore of Singapore. The first ever General Elections were conducted on May 30, 1959 and Singapore started operating as a self-governing state from June 3.
The year 1963 is an important year in the history of Singapore as the island merged with Malaya, North Borneo, and Sarawak on September 16 and formed Malaysia. However, the union proved unsuccessful. On August 9, 1965,Singapore gained independence from Malaysia, and thus began the journey of The Republic of Singapore.
Singapore is an island located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It consists of the main island and 60 other smaller islets. This city-state is slightly larger than 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC.
The Straits of Johor separates Singapore from the Malaysian state of Johor and the Singapore Strait separates the island nation from the Riau Islands of Indonesia. Singapore has a very flat terrain and it is no wonder that the highest natural point (Bukit Timah Hill) is only 164 meters high.
The nation has a tropical rainforest climate with uniform temperatures, minimum variations in seasons, and abundant rainfall throughout the year.
Singapore is a parliamentary democratic republic with a unicameral legislature. The President is elected through popular vote and mainly serves ceremonial duties, while the Prime Minister is the head of government and wields executive power with along with the Cabinet of Singapore.
Although Singapore has a multiparty system, the national politics has been dominated by the People's Action Party (PAP) since the 1959 General Election. It has recorded sweeping victory in every General Elections since then.
The nation abolished jury trials in 1969 and amended the Criminal Procedure Code in 1992 to allow trials of capital offenses be heard before a single judge.
One of the most visited nations in the world, Singapore receives about 15 million international tourists every year. In 2014, the island nation received 15,095, 152 visitors. Offering a perfect blend of Asian and European cultures, Singapore is a favorite among the travelers. The nation takes pride in its contrasts. It not only has the world’s first night zoo but also has the highest man-made waterfall. It has ancient temples as well as swanky skyscrapers.
One of the popular and most visited tourist attractions of Singapore is the island of Sentosa. It is home to the Universal Studios Singapore – the 2nd in Asia and the 1st in Southeast Asia. Visitors have several state-of-the-art rides to choose from. It also has seven differently-themed zones ranging from Sci-fi to Madagascar and Waterworld to Ancient Egypt.
Another renowned tourist attraction is the Marina Bay Sands – an integrated resort that features a hotel, casino, a mall, business center, museum, and the famous Gardens by the Sea. The famed Orchard Road – Singapore's most famous street – often tops the list of must-visit destinations in Singapore. This is the place to hunt for best shopping centers, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, and the luxurious hotels. Other popular tourist attractions are the Singapore Flyer, the Singapore Zoo, the stalls and bazaars of Little India, and the Boat Quay and Clarke Quay.
About 20% of Singapore's GDP is spent on education. Under the Compulsory Education Act of 2000, six years of education in primary school is mandatory and elementary education is free.
Failure to enroll children is considered a criminal offense. School fees in public schools are subsidized. Co-curricular activities are also compulsory in primary and secondary schools. A large number of international schools with English as the medium of instruction are located in Singapore owing to its large expatriate community.
Singapore has six national universities with the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University accommodating more than 60,000 students between them. They provide a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs.
Singapore has one of the most open economies in the world. The free-market economy of the nation is also one of the least corrupt and most business-friendly. The per capita GDP of Singapore is higher than most developed nations. The country witnesses a favorable balance of trade. In 2014, its export value was $449.1 bn as against $375.5 bn of imports.
- Singapore is one of three surviving city-states in the world, the other two being Monaco and the Vatican City.
- Singapore has changed its time zone six times since 1905.
- Singapore is the 2nd most densely populated sovereign state and the 20th smallest country in the world.
- The entire lyrics of the national anthem are printed on the back of a Singaporean $1,000 note.
- Attempting suicide in Singapore is illegal and one could face jail time if found guilty.
- According to the British Council, Singaporeans are the world's fastest walkers with the average walking capacity of 6.15 km per hour.
Last Updated : June 03, 2015