Singapore -General Info
Singapore is an island of 646 sq. km, about the size of Chicago. It is located at one of the crossroads of the world. Singapore's strategic position has helped it grow into a major center for trade, communications, and tourism. Its geographical location is 96km north of the equator, between longitude 103 degrees 36' East and 104 degrees 25' East.
Singapore was first mentioned in a 3rd Century Chinese account, which described it as "Pu-luo-chung", or island at the end of the peninsula. In the 7th Century, a Malayan Buddhist Empire was established on the island of Sumatra.
Singapore's population of approximately 3,612,000 (June 1996) comprises 77.3% Chinese, 14.1% Malays, 7.3% Indians, and 1.3% people of other descent. Singapore's indigenous people were the Malays, but after the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles and the establishment of a British trading post, Singapore became a magnet that drew thousands of migrants and merchants.
Singapore is not just one island but a main island with over 60 surrounding islets. However, its compact size belies its economic growth. In just 150 years, Singapore has grown into a thriving center of commerce and industry. Its former role as an entrepot has diminished, as the Republic increased its manufacturing base.