A country of southeast Asia comprising Singapore Island and adjacent smaller islands. A trading center as early as the 14th century, Singapore was later part of Johor, a region of the southern Malay Peninsula, under the Malacca Sultanate. The island of Singapore was ceded to the British East India Company in 1819, and the city was founded the same year by Sir Thomas Raffles. The British took complete control in 1824 and added Singapore to the newly formed Straits Settlements in 1826. During World War II it was held by the Japanese (1942–1945) before being retaken by the British. Singapore became a crown colony in 1946, a self-governing state in 1959, part of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, and a fully independent republic in 1965. The city of Singapore is the capital.