Singapore officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian island city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula,
137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of
Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south.
The country is highly urbanized with very little primary rainforest remaining, although more land is being created for development through land reclamation.
Part of various local empires since being inhabited in the 2nd century AD, Singapore hosted a trading post of the East India Company
in 1819 with permission from the Johor Sultanate. The British obtained sovereignty over the island in 1824 and Singapore became one of
the British Straits Settlements in 1826.
Occupied by the Japanese in World War II, Singapore declared independence, uniting with other former British territories to form Malaysia in 1963, although it was separated from Malaysia two years later. Since then it has had a massive increase in wealth, and is one of the Four Asian Tigers. Singapore is quite literally Lion City (singa pura).
The English name of Singapore is derived from the Malay word Singapura, hence the customary reference to the nation as the Lion City.
Lions probably never lived there; the beast seen by Sang Nila Utama, who founded and named ancient Singapore, was most likely a tiger.
The Merlion, a mythological creature is the city’s modern symbol with a water-spouting megalithic portrayal on the original Harbour in front of historic Fullertons Hotel.
In 1819, Thomas Stamford Raffles arrived and signed a treaty with Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor on behalf of the British East India
Company to develop the southern part of Singapore as a British trading post. In 1824, the entire island became a British possession
under a further treaty with the Sultan.
In 1826, it became part of the Straits Settlements, under the jurisdiction of British India. Singapore became the capital of the Straits Settlements in 1836. Before Raffles arrived, there were around 1,000 people living in Singapore, mostly indigenous Malay community, and 20-30 Chinese.
By 1860, the population exceeded 80,000, with over half of the population being Chinese. Many immigrants came to work at rubber plantations, and after the 1870s the island became a global centre for rubber exports.
Jurong Bird Park - Set in 50 acres of landscaped grounds, the park boasts over 5,000 birds of 450 different species. The park also features a nocturnal birdhouse, a walk-through open-air 200-foot-high aviary and a penguin exhibit.
Har Par Villa - Haw Par Villa is a theme park located along Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore. The park contains over 1,000 statues and 150 giant dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese mythology, folklore, legends, history, and illustrations of various aspects of Confucianism.
Botanical Gardens - The 129-acre gardens boasts over 12, 000 orchids including Singapore's native orchid, Vanda Miss Joaquim, in addition to tropical flora amidst formal gardens.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum - This Buddhist temple and museum complex located in the Chinatown district of Singapore claims that the relic of Buddha from which it gains its name was found in 1980 in a collapsed stupa in Myanmar. Simple fare is served in the basement of the temple, though donations are accepted.