The total area is about 247 sq. miles (640 sq. km) and the city of Singapore is at the southeastern end of the island. The population is in the region of 4.48m with the majority of people living in the southern part of the island.
The modern city of Singapore was founded by the British colonial administrator Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles in 1819 on the site of a fishing village and was deeded to the British East India Company by the sultan of Johor five years later. The following year, 1826, Singapore was incorporated into the colony of the Straits Settlements. Due to its location the island quickly grew into a major commercial centre.
Following World War I (1914-1918), Britain was finding the maintenance of overseas possessions expensive. It was therefore decided to maintaining the Main Naval Fleet in Europe but build a grand naval harbour in Singapore to house a naval presence in the Far East and Austarlasia if the need should arise. In the case of trouble, a military presence was maintained to defend the Singapore harbour until the Main Naval Fleet arrived, and it was at this time that the Dover Barracks were built. At the same time as Britain was suffering from the economic problems of the inter-war period, the Japanese industry was rapidly expanding, with the country requiring new markets for her increased outputs. At first the Japanese gained domination of the administrative and economic affairs of Manchuria which led to war with China. Although the League of Nations asked Japan to withdraw and China introducing a boycott of Japanese goods but unable to resist the superior Japanese forces, China, in May 1933, recognised the Japanese conquest by signing a truce. The Japanese Cabinet gave the entire conduct of the war, without government interference, to military and naval leaders and 1937-8 saw the Japanese navy blockading most of the Chinese coast and her army advancing throughout the country.
Following the outbreak of World War II Japan concluded a tripartite alliance with Germany and Italy, pledging mutual and total aid for a period of ten years and occupied French Indochina. On 7 December 1941 Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Naval base of Pearl Harbour and on Christmas Day 1941, Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese. Earlier that month Japanese forces had landed in Northern Malaya and steadily advanced towards Singapore.
British Forces were withdrawn from the Malay mainland on the night of 30 -31 January 1942 and on Singapore fought against almost hopeless odds. On the heights of Johore Bahru, manned by soldiers from the Dover Barracks, they kept up a constant barrage without a break for 15 days and nights. The evening of 15 February saw four British officers, carrying a flag of truce, unconditionally surrendered and the following day the Japanese announced that in future Singapore would be known as Shonan (Light of the South). 60,000 prisoners were taken of which 32,000 were Indians, 15,000 British and 13,000 Australians.
The Japanese remained until 6 September 1945 when the city was liberated by British troops. The following year Singapore was made a separate crown colony and on 3 June 1959, it became a self-governing state in the Commonwealth of Nations. On 16 September 1963, Singapore, Malaya, North Borneo (renamed Sabah), and Sarawak united to form Malaysia and in December 1965 the island was proclaimed a republic.
The Barracks, known as 'Dover Road Camp', to the northeast of the centre of Singapore city, was returned to the State of Singapore when the British Forces withdrew. This was eventually cleared and designated for the development of housing. The island has the second-highest population density in the world, with 5,771 people per sq. kilometre and so Dover was given over to high-rise, high-density, public housing.
Albeit, as the locality grew and increasing number of education establishments opened in Dover, such that now it is particularly noted for the number of schools, university campii, international schools and even the Ministry of Education has its headquarters in the locality!
Thanks: Yeo Su-Jan Urban Redevelopment Authority and Physical Planning