May 28, 2009
Singapore officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, lying 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator, south of the Malaysian state of Johor and north of Indonesia's Riau Islands. At 710.2 km2 (274.2 sq mi),Singapore, a microstate and the smallest nation in Southeast Asia, is by orders of magnitude larger than Monaco, San Marino, Andorra and Vatican City, the only other surviving sovereign city-states.
Before European settlement, the island now known as Singapore was the site of a Malay fishing village at the mouth of the Singapore River. Several hundred indigenous Orang Laut people also lived along the nearby coast, rivers and on smaller islands. In 1819, theBritish East India Company, led by Sir Stamford Raffles, established a trading post on the island, which was used as a port along thespice route.Singapore became one of the most important commercial and military centres of the British Southeast Asia.