Singapore - Country history and economic development



1819. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles of the British East India Company leases a small territory from the Sultan of Johore and founds Singapore.

1821. First large group of Chinese migrants arrive from Xiamen.

1826. Singapore is incorporated into the Straits Settlements, a British colony.

1860. First census indicates a population of 80,792 in Singapore.

1858. Straits Settlements become a British Crown colony under the jurisdiction of the Colonial Office in London.

1914. Indentured labor system abolished.

1921. Singapore becomes a principal naval base for the British Navy in East Asia.

1942. The country is occupied by Japan during World War II.

1945. Allied forces liberate Singapore from Japanese occupation.

1946. Singapore becomes a Crown colony separate from Malaysia.

1955. A new constitution is adopted, introducing a measure of self-government.

1959. Singapore gains full self-governance under Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

1961. Establishment of the Economic Development Board, a government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of economic and industrial development strategies.

1963. Singapore joins the Federation of Malaysia.

1965. Singapore withdraws from the Federation of Malaysia and becomes independent.

1965. Singapore joins the United Nations.

1967. Singapore becomes a founding member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

1970. Independent Monetary Authority of Singapore is established.

1971. Final withdrawal of British troops from Singapore.

1973. Last major ties with Malaysia renounced.

1979. Government begins a program of economic restructuring in response to the shock of the oil crisis.

1987. English is made the language of instruction in schools.

1990. Lee Kuan Yew resigns.

1991. The constitution is amended to allow Singapore citizens to directly elect their president.

1995. Huge losses made by a Singapore-based derivatives trader causes the collapse of Barings, the oldest British banking group.

1997. The ruling People's Action Party wins parliamentary elections, capturing 81 of 83 parliamentary seats.

1998. In response to the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the government announces financial reforms to improve the country's international competitiveness.

1999. The "Industry 21" Program, a new economic blueprint for the development of Singapore in the 21st century, is launched.

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