Singapore Brief History

According to businesscarriers, Singapore is a small and very modern country. At times almost futuristic with all its beautiful and bold architecture! Large parts of old Singapore, on the other hand, have disappeared. As Singapore is a free trade zone, there is a lot to buy at competitive prices for shopping malls! Part of the visit here is all the good food you can get at everything from small simple street restaurants to luxurious restaurants. A trip to Singapore is a visit to a slightly different Asia.

Singapore history in brief

600s e Kr

The island of Singapore is one of the outposts of the Srivijaya Empire, the first of several empires that united ports and cities in the area around the Malay archipelago.

14th century, beginning

A Javanese chronicle tells of the island of Tamasek, a kingdom founded in the late 13th century with the city of Singapore. Singapura, which means lion city in Sanskrit, later also became the name of the island

14th century, end

Singapura was drawn into fighting between Siam (Thailand) and the Java-based empire Majapahit. The city was destroyed and the island became almost deserted for four centuries

18th century, late

Through its strategic location, Singapore became interesting to the British who colonized India and increased trade with China


Thomas Stamford Raffles, an official of the British East India Company, was authorized to set up a trading post on the island, which quickly attracted merchants from surrounding countries. Singapore soon became a successful free port with free immigration. In particular, men came from China, Ceylon, India, Indonesia and the Malacca Peninsula to make money, so the population grew very fast


The East India Company formed the administrative unit the Straits Settlement of Singapore and two other British settlements on the Malacca Peninsula, Penang and Malacca. When the company lost its monopoly on trade with China about ten years later, interest in Singapore waned


The Straits Settlement became a British crown colony directly subordinate to the government in London

1869 After the opening of the Suez Canal, maritime traffic increased sharply between Europe and Asia


Around the turn of the century, Singapore, with its strategic location, was a commercial and financial center for the entire region


The world depression hit Singapore hard, so for the first time immigration was restricted and quotas for Chinese men were introduced. However, the Chinese were not affected by this as their move in favored family formation

1942 – 1945

Japan occupied Singapore until August

After the end of World War II, the return of the British was welcomed, but attitudes to colonial rule had changed.


The first political party, the Malaysian Democratic Union (MDU), was formed and demands for independence grew
in 1946.

When Britain formed a Malay federation, in which Penang and Malacca were incorporated but not Singapore, protests against British action grew.


Had an agreement been reached that Singapore would gain internal autonomy. The United Kingdom would continue to be responsible for defense and foreign policy and retain the right to repeal the Constitution.


In May, the first election was held under a new constitution. The People’s Action Party (PAP) won 43 of the 51 seats and formed a government with party leader Lee Kuan Yew as prime minister

The new government felt that Singapore needed to become less dependent on trade by building its own industry. But the PAP also wanted to expand the domestic market through a merger of Singapore and Malaysia


75% of Singaporeans voted yes in a referendum for accession to the Malay Federation, which also happened.
Problems soon arose in relation to the Federal Government of the Malay Federation and both sides accused each other of improper interference in each other’s affairs.

1964 Riots broke out between Malays and Chinese in Singapore


Singapore was forced to leave the Malay Federation and thus became an independent state, officially against the will of its own political leaders and now became an independent country with ethnic and political contradictions, without natural resources and with a small domestic market.

The ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) sought to create a national identity by emphasizing Singapore’s distinctiveness and integrating ethnic groups into schools and residential areas. The government also invested in attracting foreign investors to the country on favorable terms. Simultaneously with Singapore’s transformation, the world economy was booming, which contributed to Singapore’s industrialization at record speed and soon emerged as an economic miracle. The country developed into a regional and international financial center

1970s, late

The government successfully invested in changing the economy by attracting more high-tech and less labor-intensive production. The economic success was largely based on the political stability that the PAP’s strong position entailed


Until this year, the PAP had held all seats in Parliament. In a by-election, however, Labor leader JB Jeyaretnam won a seat


In the parliamentary elections, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) also managed to win a seat


The SDP retained its mandate in the parliamentary elections and then became the only opposition party because the Labor Party leader Jeyaretnam had previously been convicted of perjury and barred from politics.


Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who had been prime minister since 1959, had resigned but remained in government. He was succeeded by Goh Chok Tong, who advocated a more open political climate and some easing of control over the media.


In the parliamentary elections, the PAP received the lowest support since independence, with only 61% of voters voting for them, while the opposition received four seats.


General elections were held for the first time. Government candidate Ong Teng Cheong won with almost 59% of the vote


PAP promised continued stability and economic growth, which led them to strengthen their position in this year’s election and won all but two seats.
After the election, the government had to deal with the economic crisis that then hit Asia.


In the presidential election, incumbent President Ong Teng Cheong did not stand for re-election. Of the three candidates launched, only one was considered to have sufficient credentials, Singapore’s former US Ambassador SR Nathan, who could thus take over the presidency without elections being held.

Singapore Brief History