Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island country of Asia, consisting of sixty-three islands, whose form of government is the parliamentary republic. Its territory is divided into five community development councils. Its capital is the city of Singapore, so Singapore is considered a city-state. It is located south of the State of Johor on the peninsula of Malaysia and north of the Riau Islands of Indonesia, separated from these by the Strait of Singapore. At 697 km², it is the smallest country in Southeast Asia. Its territory has grown steadily with land reclaimed from the sea. From the 2nd century AD C., when the first humans settled there, the island of Singapore has been part of several regional empires.
The modern Singapore was founded in 1819 by the British Thomas Stamford Raffles as a trading post of the British East India Company with the permission of the Sultanate of Johor. The United Kingdom gained sovereignty over the island in 1824 and it became one of the British Strait Colonies in 1826. Occupied by the Japanese during World War II, Singapore declared its independence from the United Kingdom in 1963 as a state more than Malaysia through a referendum of incorporation, which separated two years later. Since then the city-state has prospered rapidly and has earned the distinction of being one of the "four Asian tigers". Singapore is one of the main global cities and one of the nerve centers of world trade, with the third largest financial center and the second port that moves the most goods. Its globalized and diversified economy depends especially on trade and the manufacturing sector.
In terms of purchasing power parity, Singapore is the third country with the highest per capita income in the world, besides being among the first countries in the international lists of education, health, political transparency and economic competitiveness. Politically, Singapore is a multiparty parliamentary republic with a unicameral parliamentary government inspired by the British Westminster system. The Popular Action Party has won all elections since the country gained independence. However, civil liberties and freedom of expression are extremely restricted and there are cases of censorship on the part of the Government, for which reason it is considered a country with both democratic and authoritarian features. The population, about five million inhabitants, is very diverse: around two million are of foreign origin and among the natives, 75% are Chinese and the rest minorities of Malays, Indians or Eurasians.
This diversity is reflected in the four official languages of the country, which are English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil, as well as in government policies that promote multiculturalism. Singapore is one of the founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and has hosted the secretariat of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, as well as being part of the East Asia Summit, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth of Nations. The rapid development of the country has led it to have an important influence in international affairs and to some analysts consider it an intermediate power.