Singapore (official name: Republic of Singapore) is an island nation off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometers (85 mi) north of the equator in Southeast Asia. The country is separated from Malaysia by the Strait of Johor in the north, and from the Riau Archipelago, Indonesia by the Strait of Singapore in the south. Singapore is the world's third leading financial center and a cosmopolitan world city that plays an important role in international trade and finance. The port of Singapore is one of the five busiest ports in the world. Singapore has a long history of immigration. Its diverse population is about 6 million people, consisting of Chinese, Malays, Indians, Arabs, various Asian ancestry, and Caucasoids. 42% of Singapore's population are foreigners who work and study there. Foreign workers make up 50% of the service sector. The country is the second most populous in the world after Monaco. A.T. Kearney named Singapore the most globalized country in the world in the 2006 Globalization Index. Prior to independence in 1965, Singapore was a diversified trading port with a GDP per capita of $511, the third highest in East Asia at the time. After independence, foreign direct investment and government efforts for industrialization based on the plans of the former Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Goh Keng Swee shaped Singapore's economy today. The Economist Intelligence Unit's "Quality of Life Index" ranks Singapore as one of the best quality of life in Asia and eleventh in the world. Singapore has the ninth largest foreign exchange reserves in the world. The country also has an advanced armed forces. After its GDP decreased by -6.8% in the 4th quarter of 2009, Singapore earned the title of the fastest growing economy in the world, with a GDP growth of 17.9% in the first half of 2010.
The name Singapore is of Malay origin (Sanskrit "Lion City"). Today, Singapore is sometimes referred to as the Lion City. Historical studies have shown that lions probably never existed on the island; the creature seen by Sang Nila Utama, the founder and name-giver of Singapore, could be a tiger.
Before the 19th century
The first records of settlements in Singapore date back to the 2nd century AD. This island is an outpost of the Srivijaya Kingdom in Sumatra which gave the name Temasek in Javanese which means 'city of the sea'. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Singapore became part of the Sultanate of Johor. In 1613 Portuguese pirates burned settlements at the mouth of the Singapore River and the island remained unnoticed for the next two centuries.
British colonial rule
On January 28, 1819, Thomas Stamford Raffles landed on the main island of Singapore. He was assigned by the British East India Company (East Indian Company, EIC) to find a strategic location to build a port at the mouth of the Malacca Strait, countering the Dutch domination, which at that time was being weakened by the successive changes of power since the bankruptcy of the VOC, the French occupation until the founding of the Dutch East Indies. Kingdom of the Netherlands.
On the island, he encountered a Malay tribal village led by Tumenggung Abdu'r Rahman, which was the territory of the Sultanate of Johor, at which time there was a power struggle between the Sultan of Johor Abdul Rahman and his half-brother, Tengku Hussein Shah (Tengku Long) who lived in exile in the Riau Archipelago. Seeing a good opportunity, both as a strategic trading post for the Southeast Asian region, as well as an opportunity to gain support from local authorities, Raffles persuaded Tumenggung Abdu'r Rahman to smuggle Tengku Hussein into Singapore, and help him seize his right to the throne of the Sultanate of Johor. After meeting Tengku Hussein, Raffles also made an agreement that Britain, in this case the EIC, would be willing to help Tengku Hussein seize the throne and provide an annual allowance in exchange for the right to the throne.