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about Singapore

The Republic of Singapore (Chinese 新加坡共和国, pinyin: Xīnjīapō Gònghéguó; Malay Republik Singapura; Tamil சிங்கப்பூர் குடியரசு, Cingkappūr Kudiyarasu), is an island city-state in Southeast Asia, at latitude 1°17'35"N longitude 103°51'20"E, situated on the southern tip of Malay Peninsula, south of the state of Johor of Peninsular Malaysia and north of the Indonesian islands of Riau.

Singapore geography


Singapore's main territory is a diamond-shaped island which is connected to the city of Johor Bahru in the state of Johor, Malaysia by a man-made causeway to the north. There is also a bridge (Tuas Second Link) in the western part of Singapore connecting to Johor. Singapore also has dozens of smaller islands, of which Jurong Island, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin and Sentosa are the larger ones. The highest point of Singapore is Bukit Timah, with a height of 164m or 538 feet.

When Singapore was first colonized by the British, the city of Singapore was situated on the southern coast, around the mouth of the Singapore River. This area remains the downtown core of Singapore. The rest of the island was farmland and jungle. However, since the 1960s the government has constructed many new towns in other areas, so that today the island is nearly entirely built-up, with only a few exceptions. In addition, Singapore has reclaimed land with earth obtained from its own hills, the seabed, and neighbouring countries. As a result, Singapore's land area grew from 581.5km² in the 1960s to 697.1km² today, and may grow by another 100km² by 2030.

Since Singapore is basically a city-state, there are no further administrative divisions. Singapore does however have community development councils and town councils that handle local matters.


Singapore's climate is tropical ("tropical rainforest climate" under Köppen climate classification), with no distinct seasons. Because of its geographical location and maritime exposure, its climate is characterised by uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity and abundant rainfall. Temperature as a diurnal range of a minimum 23-26ºC and a maximum of 31-34ºC. Relative humidity has a diurnal range in the high 90's in the early morning to around 60 % in the mid-afternoon. During prolonged heavy rain, relative humidity often reaches 100 %.

The climate of Singapore can be divided into two main seasons, the Northeast Monsoon (December to early March) and the Southwest Monsoon season (June to September), separated by two relatively short inter-monsoon periods. (These seasons are usually found in more academic contexts and are not generally familiar to laypeople in Singapore.) During the Northeast Monsoon season, northeast winds prevail, sometimes reaching 20 km/h. Cloudy conditions in December and January with frequent afternoon showers. Spells of widespread moderate to heavy rain occur lasting from 1 to 3 days at a stretch. Relatively drier in February till early March. Also generally windy with wind speeds sometimes reaching 30 to 40 km/h in the months of January and February. During the Southeast Monsoon season, southeast/southwest winds prevail. Isolated to scattered showers occur in the late morning and early afternoon. Early morning "Sumatra" line squalls are common.

Singapore history

The history of Singapore begins with the earliest references to the island in Chinese texts from the 3rd century. The island served as an outpost of the Sumatran Srivijaya empire and was originally given the Javanese name Temasek. Temasek rose to become a significant trading city in its heyday, but later declined in significance - little is to be found of old Temasek in Singapore other than archaeological evidence.

The current name of the city derives from the Sanskrit Singapura (Lion City); this name became common by the late 14th century. The 15th and 16th century Sultanate of Johore included Singapore. During the Malay-Portugal wars, Singapura was burned down by Portugese forces in 1617. The city was officially abandoned; the island remained inhabited by small bands of fishermen and pirates.

In 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, an official with the British East India Company, established Singapore as a trade post and settlement, having made a treaty with the Sultan of Johor, the effective ruler of the island of Singapore then. After some conflict over the territory between the Dutch and the British, the Dutch withdrew objections to Great Britain's founding of Singapore as a trade city in Southeast Asia in August 1824. After undergoing a number of territorial incarnations, Singapore was made a crown colony in 1867.

Singapore prospered as a trading port. Entrepot trade grew, no doubt helped by Singapore's strategic location at an important trade route along the Straits of Malacca, later to become the busiest shipping route in the world.

During World War II, Japanese forces invaded Malaya and pushed southwards towards Singapore. The British and Allied forces were forced to retreat towards Singapore with the Japanese in pursuit. Despite having numerical superiority, the British and Allied troops were less well trained and they did not have the combined arms support of the navy and air force that the Japanese enjoyed after successful raids on the Royal Air Force base in Singapore and the destruction of the battleships, the "Prince of Wales" and the "Repulse". The Japanese landed in Singapore on February 7, 1942. On February 15, 1942, Lieutenant General Arthur Percival, commander of British forces in Singapore surrendered to the Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita. The Japanese held Singapore until September 1945.

Singapore became a self-governing nation in 1959. Singapore joined Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak as part of the Federation of Malaysia between 1963 and 1965. It however, withdrew from Malaysia, becoming a sovereign nation on August 9, 1965 as racial tensions grew within Malaysia. Singapore rapidly formed its own armed forces as Britain withdrew troops from Singapore in October 1971.

Lee Kuan Yew was Singapore's first Prime Minister, governing Singapore from 1959 to 1990. His main priority then was to raise Singapore from the ashes after the World War II and develop it to compete in the global market, which was extremely hard, given the economic and political state of Singapore after the war.

His successor Goh Chok Tong, took office in 1990 as the second Prime Minister, while Lee Kuan Yew became Senior Minister. Goh Chok Tong was faced with the problems of sustaining Singapore's growth and further promote it as a business hub. He also saw the country through crises such as the 1997 Asian economic crisis and SARS in 2003.

On August 12, 2004, Lee Hsien Loong, the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, took over as the third Prime Minister of Singapore. In turn, Goh Chok Tong became Senior Minister while Lee Kuan Yew took on the newly created portfolio of Minister Mentor.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Singapore".

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