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Singapore Island, Singapore Strait, South China Sea, Malay Peninsula, political stability

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Republic of Singapore, independent republic in Southeast Asia, comprising 1 main island and about 50 small adjacent islands off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. The main island, Singapore Island, is separated from Malaysia on the north by the narrow Johore Strait and is linked by road and rail to the Malaysian city of Johor Baharu. On the south, Singapore Island is separated from Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago by the Singapore Strait, an important shipping channel linking the Indian Ocean to the west with the South China Sea on the east.

The Republic of Singapore is considered a city-state because most of the territory of the main island is part of the metropolis of Singapore. The main island is densely populated, especially in its south central portion where the central business district and main port are located. About three-fourths of the people of Singapore, known as Singaporeans, are Chinese, but there are significant Malay and Indian minorities.

Singapore contained just a few fishing settlements and a small trading port when the islands became part of the British colonial empire in the 1820s. Britain developed Singapore into a major international trade center, and the local Malay population soon swelled with immigrants from China and India. Since becoming an independent republic in 1965, multiethnic Singapore has maintained political stability and high economic growth. Singapore is Southeast Asia’s most important seaport, financial center, and manufacturing hub, and its citizens enjoy one of the world’s highest standards of living.


For younger readers

Kummer, Patricia. Singapore. Children's Press, 2003. For readers in grades 6 to 9.

Thomas, Matt. Singapore. Child's World, 2001. For readers in grades 3 to 5.

Singapore, Republic of

Callahan, Raymond A. The Worst Disaster: The Fall of Singapore. University of Delaware Press, 1977. Impact of the British loss of Singapore to the Japanese in 1942.

Jayapal, Maya. Old Singapore. Oxford University Press, 1994. Historic Singapore: the founding, life at the turn of the century, and some elements that have remained.

Liu, Gretchen. Singapore: A Pictorial History. Tuttle, 2001. Illustrates and documents important aspects of Singapore's history.

Murray, Geoffrey, and Audrey Perera. Doing Business in Singapore: The Global City-State. St. Martin's, 1996. The Singapore economy, its successes, various industries and companies, and the business climate of the 1990s.

Perry, Martin; Lily Kong; and Brenda S. A. Yeoh. Singapore: A Developmental City State. Wiley, 1997. Good overview covers historical geography, politics, and economics; emphasizes the government's role in development.

Trocki, Carl A. Opium and Empire: Chinese Society in Colonial Singapore, 1800-1910. Cornell University Press, 1990. The struggle of British colonialism and Chinese cooperative societies over the opium trade.

Yew, Lee Kuan. From Third World to First: The Singapore Story, 1965-2000. HarperCollins, 2000. The story of Singapore's dramatic transition to a thriving Asian metropolis.


Ulack, Richard, B.A., M.S., Ph.D. Professor of Geography, University of Kentucky. Coauthor of Mobility and Employment in Urban Southeast Asia: Examples from Indonesia and the Philippines and Atlas of Southeast Asia.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

Article key phrases:

Singapore Island, Singapore Strait, South China Sea, Malay Peninsula, political stability, financial center, manufacturing hub, Republic of Singapore, central business district, Singaporeans, main island, Southeast Asia, immigrants, Indian Ocean, China, India, Indonesia, citizens, rail, west, Britain, territory, islands, road, city-state

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