When compared to other Southeast Asian countries, Singapore is most definitely unique in many respects and it all began in the year 1819, when Sir Stamford Raffles arrived on the island and established it as a trading post for the East India Trading company. A few years later, Raffles created a Town Plan, creating commercial and residential districts, which included Chinatown for the Chinese immigrants and an area for Muslims and ethnic Arabs.
The Suez Canal saw the amount of shipping vastly increase, with rubber and tin being traded in abundance and in general, Britain’s influence on Singapore was very positive in the late 19th century. In 1887, a statue of Stamford Raffles was built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and Singapore was further developed as a major Asian trading post, which lasted until the start of WWII.
World War II
Singapore was overrun by the Japanese in 1941 in the Battle of Singapore and the island changed hands, coming under Japanese occupation. Many allied POWs were captured and were forced to work on the Death Railway and the island remained under Japanese rule until their surrender in 1945 after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If you stay at a hotel near Bugis Singapore, you can see many monuments and the rich colonial architecture that makes Singapore what it is today.
The British took control of the island once again after WWII and the island began the long journey towards self-governance and on April 1st 1946, Singapore became a separate Crown Colony. In 1959, Singapore had their first general election and Lee Kuan Yew was voted in as Singapore’s first Prime Minister.
Independence from Great Britain
In 1963, Singapore declared its independence from Great Britain and the island became part of Malaysia, which only lasted a couple of years before Singapore became independent. In 1967, Singapore joined Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines to form ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).
Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew unveiled a proposal to turn Singapore into a green city, introducing many parks and an ambitious tree planting program. Singapore continued to follow these green initiatives, building attractive high rise residential buildings to provide accommodation for the growing population.
The 1980s saw Singapore embark on an ambitious program to become a global hub; Changi Airport was built and quickly became one of the top airports in the world.
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