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Singapore
Overview
Background
Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819. It joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 but separated two years later and became independent. It subsequently became one of the world's most prosperous countries with strong international trading links (its port is one of the world's busiest) and with per capita GDP equal to that of the leading nations of Western Europe.
Natural resources
fish, deepwater ports
Land use
arable land: 1.64%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 98.36% (1998 est.)
Population
4,608,595 (July 2003 est.)
Ethnic groups
Chinese 76.7%, Malay 14%, Indian 7.9%, other 1.4%
Religions
Buddhist (Chinese), Muslim (Malays), Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Taoist, Confucianist
Languages
Chinese (official), Malay (official and national), Tamil (official), English (official)
Literacy
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.2%
male: 96.7%
female: 89.7% (2003 est.)
Capital
Singapore
Government type
parliamentary republic
Independence
9 August 1965 (from Malaysian Federation)
National holiday
Independence Day, 9 August (1965)
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