A Short History of Singapore

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Ancient Malay legend holds that Singapore was founded when a Sumatran prince encountered a lion - considered a good omen - on Temasek. This gave rise to Singapura, or the 'Lion City'. This then became a minor trading post for the Sumatran Srivijaya empire and subsequently a vassal state of the Javanese Majapahit empire in the mid-13th century. In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles turned his sights on Singapore it emerged as major a tariff-free port and a flourishing colony with a military and naval base.

By the 1950s, a number of political parties were clamouring for independence and Singapore finally attained self-government when the The People's Action Party was elected in 1959. Lee Kuan Yew became prime minister and he held on to this position for the next 31 years. In 1963, Singapore formed a union with Malaya (now Malaysia) but, by 1965, the nascent federation was in tatters. Singapore became independent soon after and was once again the economic success story of the region.

Singapore was hit hard by the economic troubles of the late 90s but it is slowly bouncing back. It remains a city-country renowned for its cleanliness, modernity and efficiency.

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