January 03, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
After a string of occupations and shared power, Singapore declared its independence from Malaysia in 1965. The modern history of this small country, only 255 square miles, is about as busy as Singapore's major shopping attraction—Orchard Road on a Saturday; that is, very busy. 

The Country Then

According to the Singaporean Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, Singapore served as a British settlement for most of the 19th century until the Japanese captured it in 1942. The British returned in 1945: Singapore became a Crown Colony until 1948, when it joined the Malayan Federation. In 1965, Singapore gained full independence as a sovereign state.

Learn more about Singapore's history from Travelistic, which provides a video history of the country.

The Country Now

Today, Singapore's downtown skyline shows off the country's recent financial success. The Esplanade, where plays and concerts take place, as pictured in photos by Real Travel, is just one example of Singapore's booming tourist trade.

According to the CIA World Factbook, Singapore is home to 4,553,009 people. One of Singapore's unique qualities is the make-up of its diverse population: 76.8 percent are Chinese; 13.9 percent are Malay; 7.9 percent are Indian; 1.4 percent are "other," including expats. The official language of Singapore is English, but many Singaporeans speak "Singlish," which locals describe as a combination of Chinese, Malay, and English all rolled together.

Delightful Walking Tour

The different ethnicities have become part of the tourism of the country, with Arab Street, Chinatown, Geylang Serai (Malay), and Little India attracting their own tourists. Little India has its own Web site, not only for residents, but also for tourists. The site proposes a possible walking tour that highlights all the area has to offer including the flower shops that line Campbell Street. The tour, along with its list of  "20 'must-do' things", makes any reader feel as though she's ambling down one of the bustling streets in Little India.

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