In the early 15th century, Singapore was a Thai vassal state, but the Malacca Sultanate, which Iskandar had founded, quickly extended its authority over the island. After the Portuguese seizure of Malacca in 1511, the Portuguese destroyed the settlements in Singapore in 1587 and the island sank into obscurity for the next two centuries.
The history of the United Kingdom as a unified sovereign state began in 1707 with the political union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland, into a united kingdom called Great Britain. Of this new state the historian Simon Schama said "What began as a hostile merger would end in a full partnership in the most powerful going concern in the world... it was one of the most astonishing transformations in European history." A further Act of Union in 1800 added the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
The first decades were marked by Jacobite risings which ended with defeat for the Stuart cause at Culloden in 1746. In 1763, victory in the Seven Years War led to the dominance of the British Empire, which was to be the foremost global power for over a century and grew to become the largest empire in history. As a result, the culture of the United Kingdom, and its industrial, political, constitutional, educational and linguistic influence, became worldwide.
Armed conflict began in 1775 as Patriots drove the royal officials out of every colony and assembled in mass meetings and conventions. In 1776, Congress declared that there was a new, independent nation, the United States of America, not just a collection of disparate colonies. With large-scale military and financial support from France and military leadership by General George Washington, the American Patriots won the Revolutionary War.
Seven cotton-based deep South slave states seceded and later founded the Confederacy months before Lincoln's inauguration. No nation ever recognized the Confederacy, but it opened the war by attacking Fort Sumter in 1861. A surge of nationalist outrage in the North fueled a long, intense American Civil War (1861-1865). It was fought largely in the South as the overwhelming material and manpower advantages of the North proved decisive in a long war. The war's result was restoration of the Union, the impoverishment of the South, and the abolition of slavery. In the Reconstruction era (1863–1877), legal and voting rights were extended to the freed slave. The national government emerged much stronger, and because of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, it gained the explicit duty to protect individual rights. However, when white Democrats regained their power in the South during the 1870s, often by paramilitary suppression of voting, they passed Jim Crow laws to maintain white supremacy, and new disfranchising constitutions that prevented most African Americans and many poor whites from voting, a situation that continued for decades until gains of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and passage of federal legislation to enforce constitutional rights.
In 1922, following the Anglo-Irish Treaty, most of Ireland seceded to become the Irish Free State; a day later, Northern Ireland seceded from the Free State and returned to the United Kingdom. As a result, in 1927 the United Kingdom changed its formal title to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland," usually shortened to "Britain" and (after 1945) to the "United Kingdom" or "UK".
Mr Lee Kuan Yew fought for self-Government from our British colonial masters and later led Singapore into merger with Malaysia believing that this was the best option for Singapore’s future. When merger did not work out, he took Singapore out of Malaysia and built a nation from nothing during our most difficult years.
He built up a strong defence capability to protect our sovereignty, a vibrant economy which created good jobs, a sound education system and excellent infrastructure, housing and environment. He transformed Singapore from a Third World to First World country.
The way he went about his work also mattered – he was meticulous, persistent, with tremendous drive and spirit, never quitting. He also saw to the continued success of Singapore beyond him through leadership succession.
The United States and the Soviet Union emerged as rival superpowers after World War II. During the Cold War, the US and the USSR confronted each other indirectly in the arms race, the Space Race, proxy wars, and propaganda campaigns. US foreign policy during the Cold War was built around the support of Western Europe and Japan along with the policy of "containment" or stopping the spread of communism. The US joined the wars in Korea and Vietnam to try to stop its spread. In the 1960s, in large part due to the strength of the civil rights movement, another wave of social reforms were enacted by enforcing the constitutional rights of voting and freedom of movement to African-Americans and other racial minorities. Native American activism also rose. The Cold War ended when the Soviet Union officially dissolved in 1991, leaving the United States as the world's only superpower.
Facing severe unemployment and a housing crisis, Singapore embarked on a modernization programme beginning in the late 1960s through the 1970s that focused on establishing a manufacturing industry, developing large public housing estates and investing heavily on public education.