Singapore (in Mandarin: 新加坡, Xīnjiāpō; in
Malay: Singapura; in Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர், Cingkappūr) is an island nation located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula.
It lies 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the
equator, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia's Riau Islands. At 704.0 km² (272 sq mi),
It is as small as 704.0 km² (272 sq mi). It is one of the few remaining
city-states in the world and the smallest country in Southeast Asia.
Several hundred indigenous
Orang Laut people lived around the coast, rivers and smaller islands.
British used Singapore as a strategic trading post along the spice route. It became one of the most important commercial and military centres of the British Empire.
British East India Company established a trading post on the island in 1819. The main settlement at that point was a Malay fishing village at the mouth of the Singapore River.
Singapore reverted to British rule in 1945.
In 1963, it merged with
Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form Malaysia. Less than two years later it split from the federation and became an independent republic on 9 August 1965.
Singapore joined the
United Nations on September 21 that same year.
Since independence, Singapore's
standard of living has increased. Foreign direct investment and a state-led industrialization drive based on plans drawn up by the Dutch economist Albert Winsemius have created a modern economy based on electronics manufacturing, petrochemicals, tourism and financial services alongside the traditional entrepôt trade.