Born in Singapore on September 16, 1923, Lee Kuan Yew became the longest-serving prime minister in world history. Lee rose through the ranks of his country’s political system before becoming the first prime minister of Singapore on June 5, 1959. In 1962, Lee led Singapore into a merger with Malaysia, but three years later, Singapore left the union for good. Lee resigned as prime minister in 1990, and his son became prime minister in 2004. Lee died on March 23, 2015.
Lee Kuan Yew was born into a wealthy Chinese family that had resided in Singapore since the 19th century. After World War II, Lee studied law at Fitzwilliam College, in Cambridge, UK. In 1950, he was admitted to the English bar, but instead of practicing law there, Lee returned to Singapore to do so.