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Singapore City at nightSingapore City at nightThe island city of Singapore forms a country all of its own called a city-state. With over 5.3 million people crowded into just 716 square kilometres (277 square miles), it is the world’s second most densely populated country, after Monaco in Europe. Singapore is made up of a main island, known as Pulau Ujong in Malay, and 63 smaller surrounding islands. The city of Singapore and its suburbs cover much of the main island, although a region of nature reserves and rainforest remains in the island’s centre. Road and rail bridges connect Singapore with neighbouring Malaysia. Lying just north of the equator, Singapore has a tropical climate with hot, wet weather all year round and a rainy monsoon season between November and January.

A map of SingaporeA map of Singapore

Singapore's Chinatown during Chinese New YearSingapore's Chinatown during Chinese New Year


Before the state of Singapore was created by the British in 1819, there were fewer than 1000 people living on the islands, most of them Malays or other native tribes. Today, around three-quarters of Singaporeans are of Chinese descent. Singapore has one of the highest standards of living in Asia, and it attracts many immigrants from neighbouring Asian countries to work and study. Around a quarter of the population was born outside Singapore. 

The Raffles Hotel, a major tourist destinationThe Raffles Hotel, a major tourist destination

Singapore City

Singapore’s name comes from the Malay word for the island, Singapura, which means “Lion City”. It was named by Sang Nila Utama, a prince of the Srivijayan Empire, who saw a creature on the island that he thought was a lion.

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