What is Singapore? Where is Singapore? And what are some other interesting facts about it?
What is Singapore?
Singapore is unique in terms of world geography in that it doubles as both a city and a country all in one. Singapore is also an island, giving the city-nation the unique distinction of the being the only island-city-county to exist in the world.
In addition, Singapore is a highly developed nation with a booming economy, having one of the world’s highest gross domestic product rankings per capita. The city-state impressively condenses about 5.6 million people into only 277 square miles of land. That’s about 20,217 people per square mile!
Despite this astounding population density, Singapore somehow manages to maintain a reputation for its cleanliness and number of large urban parks and other green spaces, not to mention a plethora of great restaurants and distinguished food culture.
Where Is Singapore? Finding Singapore on a Map.
Geographically speaking, Singapore is located within the bounds of the Pacific region broadly known as South East Asia. The island is only about 85 miles to the north of the equator; therefore, the climate tends to be hot, humid and rainy throughout the year. The average daytime temperature in Singapore is about 87 degrees fahrenheit, with thunderstorms being a fairly common occurrence.
Singapore lies between the Southern Peninsula tip of mainland Malaysia, where it is separated by the Strait of Jonar to the north and flanked by the Indonesian and Malaysian Islands of Sumatra and Borneo to the South. The country is made up of one larger island and 62 smaller islands.
Singapore is most easy accessible via plane through the city’s Changi Airport, considered by some to be the best airport in the world. It can also be accessed by land via two toll bridges connecting through West Malaysia.
The History of Singapore
While a trading settlement might have been established on the island dating as far back as the 3rd century A.D., modern-day Singapore was founded two centuries ago in 1819 by a man named Sir Stamford Raffles, a prominent clerk for the British East India Company.
Having since been dispatched to the Pacific Southeast and already been made governor of a settlement on nearby Sumatra, Raffles decided to establish the island now known as Singapore as a port on the Strait of Malacca. He would later give the strategically located island to the British East India Company for a lump sum of money.
In 1867, Singapore became a crown settlement falling under British rule. At this time, the population of Singapore was already almost 100,000 people and would become an even more important gateway with the construction of the Suez Canal in 1869. Many prominent temples and cultural monuments were erected in the territory around this bustling period in Singapore’s history.
The economy continued to develop rapidly until the Japanese captured Malaysia in World War II, and Singapore was also forced to surrender. The island city would go on to join Malaysia for a brief period beginning in 1963 until it gained full independence as a nation just two years later in 1965.
When founding descendant Lee Kuan Yew resigned as the Prime Minister of Singapore in 1990, he was replaced by the much more liberal regime of Goh Chok Tong. This new policy shift only encouraged the already prosperous economy into even more steady growth, a trend which continues to this day.
Modern-day Singapore is a bustling urban metropolis composed of over 75% ethnic Chinese. The other main ethnic groups in Singapore are Malays and ethnic Indians. While Singapore is a lovely place to visit, it is worth noting that the government in Singapore has much power in limiting the rights of citizens. Freedom of speech and the press is restricted, and citizens are not guaranteed a right to privacy. The country also employs various forms of corporal punishment for criminal offenses, like caning. Supporters assert that this way of life helps ensure Singapore remains clean and crime free. But those more accustomed to Western freedoms typically have trouble reconciling the actions of Singapore’s government.
Government aside, Singapore remains home to a dazzling array of stunning parks and architecture, including an abundance of impressive skyscrapers and famous landmarks like Merlion Park, the Helix Bridge, and the Marina Bay Sands Luxury Hotel.