Singapore (/ˈsɪŋəpɔr/ ( listen)), officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island country off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator, in Southeast Asia. It is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north, and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south. Singapore is the world's fourth leading financial centre and a cosmopolitan world city, playing a key role in international trade and finance. The port of Singapore is one of the five busiest ports in the world.
Singapore has a long history of immigration. It has a diverse population of close to 5 million people made up of Chinese, Malays, Indians, Asians of various descents, and Caucasians. 42% of the population in Singapore are foreigners who work and study there. Foreign workers make up 50% of the service sector. The country is the second most densely populated in the world after Monaco. A.T. Kearney names Singapore the most globalised country in the world in its Globalization Index.
Before independence in 1965, Singapore was a vibrant trading port with a GDP per capita of $511, the third highest in East Asia then. After independence, foreign direct investment and a state-led drive for industrialization based on plans by former Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Goh Keng Swee created a modern economy.
The Economist Intelligence Unit in its "Quality-Of-Life Index" ranks Singapore as having the best quality of life in Asia and eleventh overall in the world. Singapore possesses the world's ninth largest foreign reserves. The country also maintains armed forces that are technologically advanced and well-equipped.
After a contraction of -6.8% in the 4th quarter of 2009 Singapore claimed the title of fastest-growing economy in the world, with GDP growth of 17.9% in the first half of 2010.
Area: 710.2 km2 (187th) 274.2 sq mi
* Intro text, area and population information from Wikipedia.com.