The Republic of Singapore or Singapore is a country in the continent of Asia at the southern end of the Malay peninsula. Singapore is north of the equator. Its neighbours are Malaysia and Indonesia. About 4.66 million people live in Singapore, and many of them (76%) are Chinese. In Sanskrit, an old Indian language, "Singapore" means "Lion city".
The national language of Singapore is Malay and the other official languages of Singapore are English, Mandarin and Tamil. English is the language of choice because it is the language that almost everyone in Singapore knows. It is the First Language taught in schools and the language used by the government. Pupils are also taught their mother tongue language, which means that the Chinese can learn Mandarin, the Malays can learn Malay, and so on. Third languages are also taught. Singapore is also known for Singlish, or Singaporean English, which is English mixed with some words from Malay and other local languages.
Singapore got its name from 'Singa Pura' which means Lion City. There are many versions of how the name is derived. One popular (famous) legend has it that a Sumatran prince called Sang Nila Utama landed on Temasek (Singapore's old name) and saw a Lion which is called 'Singa' in Malay. Thus he gave the island a new name, 'Singapura'.
Singapore was set up as a British trading town in 1819 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, and became an important town in the Malay Archipelago, and became "Singapore". The country was given colony rank in 1867. The Japanese attacked Singapore in late 1941, and took control of the colony on 15 February 1942 and renamed it Syonan-to (pronounced as Sho-nan-to), meaning Light of the South, during the rule. People of Singapore went through hard times during the Japanese rule until the surrender of the Japanese in September 1945 back to the British. The hard times during World War II made the people think that the British were not as strong as before.