Migrant workers., Bernard Spragg Photo
Public domain free photos
The name of Singapore comes from the native Malay name for the country, Singapura, which was in turn derived from the Sanskrit word for lion city : siṃha means "lion", pura means "city". In Hindu culture, lions are associated with power and protection. The British governor arrived in Singapore on 28 January 1819 and chose the island for the new port. In 1824-1826, the entire island became a British possession. Singapore became the regional capital in 1836 and by 1860 it had a population of over 80,000, more than half being Chinese. In the 1890s, the island became a global center for the rubber industry. After the First World War, the British built the Singapore Naval Base - the largest dry dock in the world. When the British forces surrendered to the Japanese on 15 February 1942, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the defeat "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, troops led by Lord Louis Mountbatten returned to Singapore. By late 1947 the economy began to recover with Singapore becoming a separate Crown Colony. On 9 August 1965, the Malaysian Parliament voted to amend the constitution which left Singapore as a newly independent country, the Republic of Singapore. Despite ethnic tensions and political issues, economic growth continued throughout the 1980s. Singapore developed high-tech industries and became one of the world's busiest ports.