U.S. English Foundation Research



Language Research

2. Background: Background notes

Independence was achieved from Malaysia on August 9, 1965.

The Constitution was drafted on June 3, 1959 and amended in 1965 was based on pre-independence State of Singapore Constitution.

The Republic of Singapore, an independent city-state in Southeast Asia, is comprised of one main island and fifty adjacent islands off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. Singapore is densely populated, with most of the country’s people concentrated in the south central portion of the island, where the central business district and main port are located.

Singapore contained just a few fishing settlements and a small trading port when the islands became part of the United Kingdom’s colonial empire in the 1820s. Britain developed Singapore into a major international trading center, and the local Malay population soon swelled with immigrants from China and India. Since becoming an independent republic in 1965, multiethnic Singapore has maintained political stability and achieved high economic growth. As a result, Singapore is now Southeast Asia’s most important seaport, financial center, and manufacturing hub, and its citizens enjoy one of the world’s highest standards of living.

The people of Singapore’s are primarily descendants of immigrants from the Malay Peninsula, China, the Indian sub-continent and Sri Lanka. They have gradually acquired a distinct identity as Singaporeans while still retaining their traditional practices, customs and festivals.