Singapore Travel Guide
The island nation of the Republic of Singapore lies one degree north of the Equator in Southern Asia. The country includes the island of Singapore and 63 smaller islands.
Because of its determined government, Singapore has become a flourishing country that excels in trade and tourism. The capital city, also called Singapore, covers about a third of the area of the main island.
Although Singapore has a long history, its recent commercial development can be seen as beginning in 1819 when Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles annexed it for the British Crown. The purpose for the annexation was to establish a trading post for the East India Company. At the time, the island was sparsely inhabited by Malay fisherman.
The population increased as immigrants were brought in from China and India. These immigrants helped to develop facilities for a port. Trade and settlement grew under British rule until 1942, when the Japanese took over the island.
The British returned in 1945 when the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II. With the election of the first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew in 1959, Singapore achieved independence from the British, who were never able to regain the same power that they had held in Singapore before the war.
It was in 1965 that Singapore withdrew from the Federation of Malaysia and became a totally independent nation. Since then, Singapore has worked toward becoming Asia’s number one spot for trade, tourism and finance.
Square Miles: 238.6 square miles (618.1sq. km)
Johor Strait to the North; Pacific Ocean to the East; Strait of Malacca to the Southwest; Indian Ocean to the West. Singapore Island is located at the southern tip of the Malayan Peninsula.
Coastline: 120 miles (193km)
Lowland; flowing central plateau with water catchment and nature reserve.
The climate is tropical, with an average daytime temperature around 80ºF (26ºC). Evening temperatures are only slightly lower. Rainstorms occur on about 40% of all days in Singapore, with heavy rainfall from November to January. Rainstorms are usually short and intense.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
The feel of the island comes from the cultural diversity of Malays, Indians and Eurasians. Although citizens of all races think of themselves as Singaporean, there are still certain areas that are inhabited by specific ethnic groups. Each area has its own culture celebrating its own religion. Each religion has many colorful festivals to commemorate days of special significance.
Ethnic Groups: 77% Chinese, 14% Malay, 8% Indians and 1% others.
Languages: The four official languages of Singapore include Mandarin, English, Malay and Tamil.
Religion: Singapore’s main religions are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity.