Where Singapore on the world map. Map of Singapore
Map of Singapore with cities. Where Singapore is on the world map. The main geographical facts about Singapore - population, country area, capital, official language, religions, industry and culture.
Singapore Fact File
Official name Republic of Singapore
Form of government Republic with single legislative body (Parliament)
Area 633 sq km (244 sq miles)
Time zone GMT +8 hours
Projected population 2015 4,756,000
Population density 7,034.8 per sq km (18,262.3 per sq mile)
Life expectancy 80.3
Infant mortality (per 1,000) 3.6
Official languages Malay, Chinese, Tamil, English
Literacy rate 93.5%
Religions Buddhist and Taoist 56 %, Muslim 19c Christian 15 %, Hindu 5 %, other 5 %
Ethnic groups Chinese 76.4%, Malay 14.9%, Indian 6.4%, other 2.3%
Currency Singapore dollar
Economy Services 70%, industry 29%, agriculture 1 %
GNP per capita US$ 24,700
Highest point BukitTimah 162 m (531 ft)
Map reference Page 200
Amuddy, mangrove-swampy islet nobody wanted in 1819, Singapore is now a leading Asian city-state with one of the highest standards of living in the world. This was achieved without any resources beyond the skills and commitment of its citizens and the economic vision of its leadership. Standing at the southern extremity of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore was established as a free-trading port and settlement early in the nineteenth century by the English colonial administrator Sir Stamford Raffles. Without customs tariffs or other restrictions it drew numbers of Chinese immigrants, and after the opening of the Suez Canal played a leading role in the growing trade in Malaysian rubber and tin.
After the Second World War, during which it was occupied by the Japanese, it reverted to its former status as a British crown colony. In 1963 it became part of Malaysia, but, after two years, tensions between Chinese Singapore and the Malay leadership in Kuala Lumpur led Malaysia to force the island to go it alone. Under Lee Kuan Yew, prime minister for 31 years until 1990, a strategy of high-tech industrialization enabled the economy to grow at a rate of 7 percent a year. However, freedom of speech is constrained, political debate limited, and both public behavior and private life are watched closely (chewing gum is forbidden, and vandalism punished by caning).
Singapore Island is largely low-lying, with a hilly center. With limited natural freshwater resources, water is brought from the Malaysian mainland nearby. Reservoirs on high ground hold water for the city's use. Urban development has accelerated deforestation and swamp and land reclamation: 5 percent of the land is forested, and 4 percent is arable. In addition to the main island of Singapore there are 57 smaller islands lying within its territorial waters, many of them in the Strait of Singapore, which opens from the busy seaway of the Strait of Malacca. Between the main island and the Malaysian mainland is the narrow channel of the Johore Strait. A causeway across this strait links Malaysia to Singapore.
While the foundation of its economic growth was the export of manufactured goods, the government has in recent years promoted Singapore as a financial services and banking center, using the latest information technology. In 1995 this sector led economic growth. Singapore is a world leader in biotechnology. Rising labor costs threaten the country's competitiveness today, but its government hopes to offset this by increasing productivity and improving infrastructure. Despite the reduced growth rate accompanying the Asian economic downturn in 1998 there are plans for major infrastructural development: an additional section for Changi International Airport, extensions to the mass rapid transit system, and a deep-tunnel sewerage project to dispose of wastes. In applied technology, per capita output, investment, and industrial harmony, Singapore possesses many of the attributes of a large modern country.