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Singapore was a part of the Sri Vijayan Empire called Temasek (Sea Town). Located at the natural meeting point of sea routes at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore had long known visits from a wide variety of sea craft, from Chinese junks, Indian vessels, Arab dhows and Portuguese battleships.

It was in the 11th century that this region was given a new name - "Singa Pura" ("Lion City"). According to legend, a visiting Sri Vijayan prince saw an animal and he mistook it for a lion and Singapore's modern day name was born.

The British in the 18th century established Singapore as a trading station to protect their fleet and forestall any advances by the Dutch in the region.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the advent of telegraph and steamship increased Singapore's importance as a centre for the expanding trade between East and West.

During World War II the Japanese advanced into the island in 1942. After the war, Singapore became a Crown Colony. On August 9, 1965, Singapore became an independent republic.

 Image for Lion