Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Singapore was a much different place when it first became a republic in 1965—the most obvious of difference being the lack of skyline we've all come to recognize. The city-state has a lot to be proud of considering they've jumped into the ranks of the world's wealthiest cities (they currently rank No. 4 on the list of the world's largest financial centers) and they certainly know how to celebrate the progression every year on its birthday. This year, soccer legend Pelé even got in on the birthday greetings—check out the video luxury retail group The Hour Glass put together to commemorate the occasion below:

August 9th is always a festive day for locals and travelers—buildings are lit up in red, cars are decked out in Singapore's flag, a massive parade is held. Everyone takes a moment to honor the culture that has brought together locals and foreign national—a population that has grown from 1.9 million in 1965 to more than 5.3 million today—under one diverse blanket. We can talk about how far the island country has come in the last fifty years, but we all know pictures speak much louder than words. Here are a few scenes from what Singapore looked like in 1965 when it was first coming into its nationhood:

Credit: Steve Swayne / Flickr
Credit: Steve Swayne / Flickr
Credit: Steve Swayne / Flickr
Credit: Steve Swayne / Flickr

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.