St. Petersburg - Germany's Angelique Kerber, who won two of the season's four Grand Slam titles, secured the year-ending world number one ranking on Thursday, the WTA announced.
Kerber is the 12th player to achieve the year-end top spot and only the second German woman after Steffi Graf, who achieved the feat a record of eight times.
"It is a great honour and achievement to finish the year as the No 1 player in the world," said Kerber, who will look to finish 2016 in style next week at the WTA Finals in Singapore.
"This is one of the things I've always been dreaming of - to become No 1. I have worked extremely hard to become the best player I can be and this is a reflection of that effort and the wonderful year I have had."
Kerber became the oldest player to make her debut at number one on September 12 at 28 years old.
She succeeds Serena Williams who held the year-end No 1 ranking for the past three years.
Kerber began the season by claiming her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in her first major final.
She also advanced to the Wimbledon final, captured a silver medal in singles at the Rio Olympics, and claimed her second Grand Slam title at the US Open.