Established as a trading post under the East India Company in 1819, Singapore came under British colonial rule in 1867 as part of the Straits Settlements with Penang and Malacca. Singapore rapidly grew to become the most important commercial centre and naval base in SE Asia. After the Second World War it became first a British Crown Colony in 1946 and then a self-governing state within the Commonwealth in 1959. Federated with Malaysia in 1963, it declared full independence two years later
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