This strategic island called Singapore was first inhabited by regional fishermen and pirates, to later become part of the Sumatran Empire of Srivijaya. European control of the Malaysian area began in the 16th century, and in 1819, Singapore was founded as a British trading colony, and was once the site of one of Britain's most important naval bases. Malaysia itself was formed in 1963 when Singapore and the states of Sabah and Sarawak joined the Peninsular Malaysia Federation. However, Singapore left in 1965 to become a separate nation.
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