Guide to Living in Singapore

A Brief History

The earliest known mention of Singapore was a 3rd-century Chinese account describing Singapore as “Pu-luo-chung” (“island at the end of a peninsula”). By the 14th century, Singapore had become part of the mighty Sri Vijayan Empire and was known as Temasek (“Sea Town”).

During the 14th century, it 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 “half way house” to support their growing empire. In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles, the British administrator who founded modern Singapore, quickly established Singapore as a trading station. By 1824, the population had grown from a mere 150 to 10,000.

Years later, during World War II, Singapore was captured by the Japanese 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.

Singapore Today
Singapore is made up of not just one island but a main island with 63 surrounding islets. The main island has a total land area of 710.3 square km. It is located 136.8 km north of the equator, between latitudes 103 degrees 38’E and 104 degrees 06’E. Singapore is closely situated to Malaysia and Indonesia.

In just 150 years, Singapore has grown into a thriving centre of commerce and industry. Though its former role as an entrepôt has diminished, it remains the busiest port in the world with over 600 shipping lines. In addition, Singapore has developed a strong manufacturing base that was developed primarily in the 1960s and has evolved into one geared towards the production of high value-added goods today. It is also one of the world’s major oil refining and distribution centres and a leader in shipbuilding and repairing.

In recent years, Singapore has become one of the most important financial centres of Asia with more than 130 banks. Business dealings are facilitated by Singapore’s superb communications network which links the nation with the rest of the world.