Singapore Country Entry

William Peterson

    Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


    A multireligious, multiethnic country with a Chinese majority, the Republic of Singapore is situated just north of the equator in Southeast Asia. Consisting of Singapore Island (which measures a mere 26 miles by 14 miles or 41.8 kilometers by 22.5 kilometers) and 63 small, largely uninhabited islands, the nation has a total area of 269 square miles (697 square kilometers). Singapore is situated along one of the world’s most important shipping lanes, the Strait of Malacca, which separates the country from the Indonesian island of Sumatra to the west. To the north of Singapore Island, beyond the narrow Johore Strait, is Malaysia. Established in 1819 as a British trading center, Singapore began the process of gaining independence from Britain in the 1950s, and after a brief and unsuccessful union with neighboring Malaysia, the country became fully independent in 1965. The People’s Action Party has maintained political power since 1959. Because most Singaporeans are descended from Chinese, Malay, and Indian laborers who were imported to support Britain’s economic power, the range of cultural and religious diversity in the country is striking. While Chinese constitute the majority of the population (74.1 percent), they have historically been further divided by dialect group, the dominant one being Hokkien, followed by Teochew, Cantonese, and Hakka. English is the official language of Singapore and is spoken by virtually all Singaporeans regardless of ethnicity, though most Chinese Singaporeans also now speak Mandarin rather than the traditional dialects. Other languages spoken include Malay and Tamil, the principal language of Singapore’s Indian community.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages8
    Place of PublicationNew York
    ISBN (Print)9781414498713
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Publication series

    NameWorldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices


    • Singapore
    • religious practices
    • religions


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