Singapore is said to have derived its name from the word 'singapura' which by translation means 'Lion City'. This name was allegedly coined by a prince from Sumatra who upon landing on the island, saw a lion and took it as a good omen.


Singapore was a colony state ruled by the British. The British rule of the island lasted for 144 years. This rule was however brought to an end when the crown colony was dissolved in 16 September 1963 when Singapore became part of Malaysia. Malaysia comprised of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo now known as Sabah. However, Singapore's merger proved unsuccessful.


Communal tensions that resulted in racial riots in July and September 1964 were as a result of deep political and economic differences between the ruling parties of Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore separated from Malaysia to become an independent and sovereign state in 9 August 1965.

After Singapore separated itself from Malaysia, the fledgling nation had to become self-sufficient. Singapore faced a lot of problems such as;

  • Housing shortages

  • Lack of land and natural resources

  • Unemployment.

It is during the term of Lee Kuan Yew as prime minister from 1959-1990 that his administration was able to curb unemployment. Living standards were raised. This was achieved by the implementation of a large-scale public housing program.

As a result, the country's economic infrastructure was developed, independent national defense system was put in place and eventually, racial tension was eliminated. Singapore evolved from a developing nation to a first world state toward the end of the 20th century.

It is during the reign of Goh Chok Tong who succeeded Lee in 1990 that economic impacts of the 1997 Asian Financial crisis and the 2003 SARs outbreak were tackled. In 2004, Lee Hsien Loong who was the eldest son of Leen Kuan Yew became the third prime minister.


Singapore is a multi-racial country with the Chinese accounting for more than 75% of the population. Malays and Indians making up much of the remainder. Being a densely populated country, most of its people live in public housing tower blocks. The trade-driven economy of this country is heavily supported by the foreign workers.

Government statistics actually show that by the year 2030, foreign immigrants will make up more than 50% of the population.


Since Singapore declared its independence from Malaysia in 1965, the People's Action Party has dominated the country's politics. However, Singapore is still facing some major challenges such as; income inequality, rising cost of living and immigration.