Singapore is one of the smallest nations in the world. The independent city-state occupies an island in Southeast Asia that was originally founded by the British Empire as a trade outpost in 1819. Today, the city-state is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and boasts a trading port that is often considered among the busiest in the world. Singapore is very densely populated, with its population of roughly 5.5 million residents occupying just 444 sq. miles (716 sq. km) of space.