The first inhabitants probably came to the
Maldives from southern India and Sri Lanka in the
millennium before our era. In the 12th century AD,
sailors and merchants from East African and Arab
countries had established themselves on the islands.
According to tradition, the Maldivian king was converted
from Buddhism to Islam in 1153. Thereafter, the islands
were ruled by Muslim sultans all the way into modern
In the Maldives there was an important wealth:
kauris, which served as an international means of
payment for a long time.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Maldives, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
In the middle of the 16th century, the Portuguese
settled on the islands. After only 15 years, they were
driven away by Chief Muhammad Thakurufar al-Azam, who
has become a Maldivian national hero. The Dutch gained a
strong influence over the kingdom during the 17th
century, and for a short period in the middle of the
18th century the Malabarian kingdom in southern India
succumbed to the Maldives.
The British sphere of influence reached the islands
in the late 18th century. In the mid-19th century,
merchants from Bombay soon acquired a monopoly on
foreign trade. To strengthen its position vis-à-vis the
Indian traders, the Maldivian Sultan signed a treaty
with the British. The treaty gave the Maldives a
position as a British protectorate, but with internal
self-government. No actual colonization was carried out.
In 1932, elections for the post of starvation were
introduced, which had previously been inherited.
When Sri Lanka became independent in 1948, the Sultan
and the British agreed that the United Kingdom should
continue to conduct Maldives foreign policy without
interfering in internal affairs. The Sultanate was
abolished in 1953 and a republic was established under
Amin Didi, who is considered the father of the modern
Maldives. However, the Republic became short-lived: Amin
Didi overthrew less than a year later. In 1954, the
Sultanate was re-established under Mohammed Farid Didi.
A British air base was established in 1956 on the
island of Gan in southern Maldives. When the country's
Prime Minister Ibrahim Nasir demanded that the agreement
on the airbase be renegotiated, the locals at the
southernmost atolls Addu (where Gan belongs) and
Suvadiva took the rebellion. Encouraged by the British,
the insurgents threatened to form their own state. In
1962, however, the revolt was crushed by government
Gayum's party wins the election
Former dictator Maumun Abdul Gayum's party Maldivian People's Party (DRP)
becomes the largest in the parliamentary elections with close to 37 percent of
the vote. In second place comes President Nashid's Maldivian Democratic Party
(MDP), which receives 33 percent of the vote. The DRP has several allies among
the small parties and independent candidates who come into Parliament and can
thus effectively curb legislative proposals from the MDP-led government. Thus,
the Maldives end up in a political stalemate.