Singapore’s early history is disputed. Some native historians claim that the island was a regional superpower called Tumasik about 1000-1400, ie. during and for some time after the Srivijaya Empire. Others believe that Singapore was only a local outpost until Stamford Raffles established a British trading station on the island in 1819. Modern Singapore originated in the subsequent colonization.
Thanks to its strategic location, Singapore quickly became a leading trading center in Southeast Asia. The island was included in the British Straits Settlements from 1826, which in 1867 became a crown colony. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Singapore. Singapore experienced rapid population growth; the British imported Chinese and Indian bullets, and extensive immigration came from southern China. The Malay population became a minority.
A new age came with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the establishment of regular steamboat traffic to Europe. Singapore became a notorious port city with opium, secret societies and poverty, but also a rich and refined British colony with the Cricket Club, Victoria Theater and Raffles Hotel, where guests such as Joseph Conrad, Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling depicted colonial life on the island. During World War II, Singapore was occupied by Japan (see below) and became the center of Japanese operations in Southeast Asia.
In 1946 Singapore was granted the status of its own crown colony. Continued immigration after the war and high birth rates during the 1950s contributed to rapid population growth. When the Malaysian Federation became independent in 1957, Singapore remained under British control. In 1963, Singapore joined Malaysia together with the Malaysian Federation, Sabah and Sarawak. The relationship between the political leaders in Singapore and the country’s leadership in Kuala Lumpur was marked by tension, which led to Singapore being de facto excluded from Malaysia in 1965. Singapore then became an independent country.
In 1954, lawyer Lee Kuan Yew had formed the People’s Action Party (PAP), which won power in the state elections in 1959. Since then, this party has been the leading political force in Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew sought to improve Singapore’s reputation early and create a modern rule of law. Free trade, tough legislation, ideological education and social engineering have characterized Singapore’s social development and led to strong economic development with increased prosperity.