to folklore, the Maldives was first colonised by an Indo-Aryan
race, between the 4th and the 5th centuries BC. However, it is
certain that early settlers came via Sri Lanka and practised
age-old Buddhist customs.
conversion to Islam took place in 1153. Legend tells us that
during this time a demon rose from the depths of the ocean
once every month and demanded that a virgin girl be
sacrificed. A pious Moroccan saint, Abu al-Barakat, who
visited Maldives at that time, learned of the story and
exorcised the demon by reading verses from the Quran. The
event led the King to embrace Islam.
country has remained independent except for short periods of
time, the longest being the 17-year Portuguese rule in the
16th Century. It is said that the sea grew red with Muslim
blood as the invaders tried to enforce their Christian beliefs
upon the islanders. In 1573, Mohammed Thakurufaanu, the
greatest Maldivian hero, led a band of men into Male’ harbour
and, in the pitch darkness of the night, searched for and
slaughtered their enemy.
the Malabars from the East Coast of India attacked the
Maldives, destroying the palace and driving the Sultan into
exile. Their rule was short-lived: within months the people
became resistant and a group led by Ghaazee Hassan Izzuddeen
fought against the enemy forces and defeated them.
the Maldives became a British protectorate. However, the
British never interfered with the internal politics of the
country, and in 1965 the country became a fully independent
state. In 1968 a Republic was declared.