Singapore is located 137 km North of the equator, between
longitudes 103, 36' East and 104,25' East; 42 km in
length; 23 km in breadth; 645 sq. km in area and
approximately 150.5 km of coastline.
Singapore was first mentioned in 1365 AD in Javapese
"Nagarakretagama' as "Temasek" or Sea Town.
A third-century Chinese account described Singapore a
"Pu-lou-chung" or island at the tip of a
peninsula. But it was from 14th century, following a
Sumatran prince mistaking a tiger from a lion, that
Sanskrit term "Singapura" or Lion City gained
It was Sir Stamford Raffles, a 19th century British civil
servant, who founded Singapore in 1819. An official of
British East India Company, Raffles combed Straits of
Malacca for a small trading station, to counter Dutch
influence in area. The tiny fishing village of Singapore
was perfect, because it was at the crossroads of East and
Raffles did not just discover Singapore. He literally laid
the city's foundations. After establishing a trading post,
he planned to build a business quarter on one side of
Singapore River. But, because it was low-lying, he ordered
a small hill to be excavated to fill up the area. Today,
that land is the core of the city and the heart of Shenton
Way, Singapore's answer to Wall Street.
After Raffles, the next man credited with the rise of
modern Singapore, is Lee Kuan Yew. His potent formula for
nation-building, since Singapore's independence in 1965,
has been initiated, but hardly paralleled in any part of
the world. Mr. Lee is presently Senior Minister in the
Economists describe Singapore as a "modern
miracle", because it has built its success on only
one resource, its people, and without natural resources.
Singapore retains its special multiracial quality acquired
from its early days, when Arabs, Chinese, Europeans,
Indians and Strait-born Chinese (or Peranakan) came to
live side by side with indigenous Malays.