Brief History

"It is a place that cherishes its past as it looks to the future."

The earliest known mention of Singapore was a 3rd century Chinese account which described Singapore as "Pu-luo-chung" ("island at the end of a peninsula"). Little is known about the island's history at this time but this matter-of-fact description belies Singapore's colourful past. By the 14th century, Singapore had become part of the mighty Sri Vijayan empire and was known as Temasek ("Sea Town"). This was no less accurate than the 3rd century name. Located at the natural meeting point of sea routes at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore had long known visits from a wide variety of sea craft, from Chinese junks, Indian vessels, Arab dhows and Portuguese battleships to Buginese schooners.

During the 14th century, this small but strategically-placed island had earned a new name - "Singa Pura", or "Lion City". According to legend, a visiting Sri Vijayan prince saw an animal he mistook for a lion and Singapore's modern day name was born. The British provided the next notable chapter in the Singapore story. During the 18th century, they saw the need for a strategic "halfway house" to refit, feed and protect the fleet of their growing empire, as well as to forestall any advances by the Dutch in the region. It was against this political backdrop that Sir Stamford Raffles established Singapore as a trading station. The policy of free trade attracted merchants from all over Asia and from as far afield as the United States and the Middle East. By 1824, just five years after the founding of modern Singapore, the population had grown from a mere 150 to 10,000.

In 1832, Singapore became the centre of government for the Straits Settlements of Penang, Malacca and Singapore. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the advent of telegraph and steamship increased Singapore's importance as a centre for the expanding trade between East and West. Singapore had been the site of military action in the 14th century when it became embroiled in the struggle for the Malay Peninsula between Siam (now Thailand), and the Java-based Majapahit Empire. Five centuries later, it was again the scene of significant fighting during World War II. Singapore was considered an impregnable fortress, but the Japanese overran the island in 1942. After the war, Singapore became a Crown Colony. The growth of nationalism led to self-government in 1959 and on 9 August 1965, Singapore became an independent republic.

Back to the Top 

Singapore Today

"It is a city with its head in the future and its soul in the past."
Singapore is not just one island but a main island with 63 surrounding islets. The main island has a total land area of 682 square km. However, its compact size belies its economic growth. In just 150 years, Singapore has grown into a thriving centre of commerce and industry. Its former role as an entrepot has diminished, as the Republic has increased its manufacturing base. Singapore is the busiest port in the world with over 600 shipping lines sending super tankers, container ships and passenger liners to share.

Back to the Top 

Climate

"It is a place where the sun shines through the rain."
Singapore's climate is warm and humid, with only slight variations between the average maximum of 31 degrees Celcius and minimum of 23 degrees Celcius. This makes it ideal for those who enjoy sunbathing, swimming, sailing and other water sports. But for those who do not enjoy the tropical climate, Singapore is sheltered from the worst effects of the sun with air-conditioning in almost all of its shops, hotels, office buildings and restaurants. Rain falls throughout the year, with more consistent rain coming during the monsoon season from November to January. Showers are usually sudden and heavy, but also brief and refreshing.

Back to the Top 

Geographical Location

"It is far from ordinary, yet comforts are always near."
Located at one of the crossroads of the world, Singapore's strategic position has helped it grow into a major centre for trade, communications and tourism. Its geographical location is 136.8 km north of the equator, between latitudes 103 degrees 38' E and 104 degrees 06' E. It is linked to Malaysia by two causeway bridges and the key islands of the Riau archipelago of Indonesia are just a quick ferry trip away. Thailand and the Philippines are a short plane journey away and Singapore, with an airport served by more than 69 airlines, is very much the gateway to South-East Asia.

Back to the Top 

 

  Information provided by Singapore Tourism Board.

 

Home | Bhutan | Brunei | Cambodia | China-Yunnan | East Timor | Hong Kong | India | Indonesia | Japan | Kazakstan | Korea | Kyrgystan | Laos | Malaysia Maldives | Mongolia | Myanmar | Nepal | Pakistan | Philippines | Singapore | Sri Lanka | Tajikistan | Taiwan | Thailand | Tibet | Turkmenistan | Vietnam Uzbekistan

 

Website partner : Asia-planet.com...Tours and Hotels around Asia.
Version Francaise : Planete-asie.com

Copyright © 2002 Orasia co.,ltd. (Asia-planet.net) All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission prohibited.