Although several Chinese tales existed telling of Singapore’s humble beginnings, the earliest confirmed record of Singapore history happened in 1320, when a trade mission from the Mongol Empire disembarked on the southern tip of the island, which was then called Long Ya Men. For many years the island was made up of small settlements until the 1390s, when it came under the unified rule of Parameswara, an exiled Srivijayan prince.
Singapore became a popular trading port starting from the 14th century. The island changed rulers several times as neighboring countries battled over several territories in the Malay Peninsula. Singapore’s development came to an end when the Portuguese defeated the Malacca Sultanate in 1511, which was then the rulers of Singapore. Portuguese raided the Singaporean settlements in 1587.
For two centuries, nothing was heard of regarding Singapore, until the 1800s, when European colonies started to conquer lands in the Malay Archipelago. Sir Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore in 1819 and declared and turned it into a European port. During the Second World War, the island came under the rule of the Japanese until 1945, when it was reverted back into the hands of the British. The citizens were granted the right to self-govern, and in 1963, the island became a part of Malaysia. However, several bouts of civil unrest caused Singapore to separate into an independent nation in 1965.
As a newly formed independent republic, Singapore faced major housing and unemployment crisis. This began the modernization of Singapore as the country started investing in its manufacturing industry as a prime source of income. Its focus on public education and housing for all escalated Singapore’s development, its economy growing around nine percent a year on average. From the humble beginnings of Singapore history, it emerged in the 1900s as a country with one of the highest GDPs in Asia, second only to Japan.