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Singapore: Background and U.S. Relations
An island city-state located astride key shipping lanes at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula,
Singapore's economic and strategic importance exceeds its small size. Founded in 1819 by British
East India Company official Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, Singapore's free trade status has been
a major factor in its success. Singapore achieved home rule in 1959 and joined with Malaya,
Sabah, and Sarawak to form the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. Within two years, friction
between the Malay-dominated federation government and the Chinese-dominated Singapore
administration led to the separation of Singapore from Malaysia. Amid serious doubts about its
viability, Singapore became a separate independent nation in 1965.
Figure I. Map of Southeast Asia
C A MBODIA VIETINAM
South China Sea
O Kuala Lumpur
Population: 4.1 million
Land Area: 647.5 sq. km. (about 3.5 times the size of
the District of Columbia); one main island and 58 islets;
extensive land reclamation
Ethnic Groups: 71% Chinese;14% Malay; 8% Indian;
IN DON F S I i
Language: Chinese (official); Malay (official and
national); Tamil (official); English (official) widely used
in business, professions, and schools
Life Expectancy at Birth: female, 85 yrs.; male, 79 yrs.
GDP (PPP): $292.4 billion; per capita: $57,200 (2010 est.)
Trade: imports: $310.4 billion; exports: $351.2 billion (2010 est.)
Source: Map, CRS; statistics, CIA World Factbook.
Congressional Research Service
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Singapore: Background and U.S. Relations, report, July 15, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc806228/m1/4/: accessed January 16, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.