History of the Maldives

500 bef. Chr

With a great probability Singhalese seafarer discovered the atolls of the Maldives. Today, the dialect is speaking here, remind of Singhalese strongly and reconcile uses and Buddhistic finds at excavations indicate that the settlement of the Maldives of the south was carried out to the north.

150 after Chr

The Maldives must already have been known because the geographer of Claudius Ptolemńus describes islands which point to the Maldives in his notes as "Islands west of Ceylon". He had his knowledge from notes of the Phoenician which had ventured with her merchant ships into the Indian ocean and the Maldives also have presumably started.

The Indian Ocean and the Maldives in historic maps


The writer Ammianus Marcellinus reports of Maldivian peoples, called "Divi", which came to the court of the Roman emperor Julian in the year 362.


The less known seafarer Moses Chorenensis reported in the late 4th century of the Maldives, as well the Egyptian dealer Cosmos Indicopleustes between 530 and 550.


Some, presumable Phoenician ships wrecked run aground at the reefs not included cartographically and has himself after this set up on the islands.

11. Century

More concrete details found geographers from the 9. and 11. century (Suleiman in the late 9. century, Mas-Udi 947, Al-Biruni 1030 and Al-Idrisi in begins of 11. century), these reported of lovely independent islands on this was traded with tortoiseshell objects and coconut ropes and and paid with Kauri-Shells.

1141 'Tarikh'

This year started for the first time with the writing down of the Tarikh. At that time, this "chronicle of the sultans" was still hammered into copper stripes which then were bound like a fan together.

The Maldivian chronicle reports in a mixture of truth and legend:

... Monster and demons still infested the Maldives in that time. the old Friday Mosque (look to the Bungalows on Reethi Beach!, too)She could be driven away by no magic power. Month for month demanded Jinni, the demon of the sea, his victim, a virgin. By the lot a victim was determined and from which the demon abducted the victim and killed, taken to the idol temple on the beach, adorned festively after it. In 1153 according to the Tarikh chronicle by the inspiration of the all-powerful God the sheikh Yusuf Shams-ud-din from Tńbris on the Maldives. He heard of the demon and asked the islanders to be allowed to take her seat in the temple to place. It also happened so: The stranger spent the night, be reading the Koran in the temple. He saw the demon approaching and as this saw and heard like the foreign parts according to the Koran read, he fled, dipped into the sea and never returned again.

As the king of the Maldives, this one since 1141 on the island of Rasgetimu in the Raa atoll residing Theemugey Maha Kalaminja, how all Maldive Islands a supporter and advocate the Buddhism, heard the history and went over from the Buddhismus and with him all following. He let generously mosques build and introduced the Islamic right to the Maldives.

1141 'Koimala'

Another legend which reports "Koimala Kalo":

... it was once a Ceylonese prince with the name Koimala Kalo, which was married to the daughter of the king of Ceylon and with 2 ships from Senendib on Ceylon (today: the island Sri Lanka) stung into sea. The wind carried the sailing ships on the Maldives to the southwest where they got into a calm and the prince and the princess went to the land. When the natives learned that her visitors were of a royal descent, these were invited to remaining on the islands ...
... Koimala was elected the king of the island and this got the name "Rasgetimu" (the king island, island of the royal visitors). Koimala moved with his wife later to Male where she together lived with the Maledivian natives, shall he come from the island of Giravaru. The two ships returned against to Ceylon back from where they fetched further lion sons (Singhaleses) ...
... Koimalas wife gave him a son who got the name Kalaminja and ruled later as first king of the Maldives for 25 years ...

The legend of the first king of the Maldives ended here. How much truth and how much includes fable it cannot be stated any more today. The Koimala Kalo legend can possibly be dated back also by many centuries, however. Feast stands the Koimala Kalo legend also is established in the famous Maledivian sultan chronicle "Tarikh" irrefutably, however only, Kalaminja was was irrefutably also the 1st sultan of the Maldives.


Since this year, the religion of all Maldivian peoples is the Sunnite Islam. The Buddhistic king Theemugey Maha Kalaminja was the first sultan of the Maldives under the name Mohamed Ibn Abdullah and 88 male and 4 female sultans follow him. In the year 1968 Mohammed Fareed-ul-Avval became the last sultan of the Maldives. He found proofs of the earlier Buddhistic culture on some islands of the southern atolls, the finds are particularly known in the Ari atoll on the island of Toddu.


1166 didn't return sultan Mohamed Ibn Abdulla from a pilgrim journey to Morocco any more. A conquest bunch of Malabar - a narrow coastal strip in west of India - attacked the capital MalÚ under the leadership of Ali Raja of Cananore times and burned the palace down completely.


The inscription reveals that the slab was placed as an altar of a mosque that was constructed by Sultan Jalaluddin Umar Bin Salah, on 1 Dhul Qaidhaa 713 of the Hijri Calendar, which corresponds to 17 February 1314 in the Gregorian Calendar.The "Masjid-ul Thaqwaa" stone disk:

The "Masjid-ul Thaqwaa" stone disk is the oldest, which discovers document panel on the Maldives and is in the old Henveiru mosque ever. The inscription yields, that into the disk is from Sultan Jalaluddin Umar Bin Salah (for 1 Dh'ul Qai for dhaa 713 in the Hijri Calendar) on February 17th, 1314 served built mosque as an altar.

At the 24th Jńnner 1697 (1 Rajab 1108 in the Hijri calendar) she was of sultan Mohamed Haji Alithu is ' the first renovates kalaa (or Dhevvadhoo Rasgefaanu) and on February 20th, 1919 (at the 19 Jumada al Oola 1337 in the Hijri calendar) of sultan Mohamed Shamsuddin III the last.

The "Shihabuddin badge" the till now oldest inscription disk carried the date 738 after the Hijri calendar but the new "Masjid-ul Thaqwaa" is by 25 years older!





The first detailed description is from the Arabian globetrotter Ibn Battuta, the "Blackamoor of Tanger" which went 1343 to 1344 and again 1346 to the Maldives and lived there for some times even to order of the ruling Sultana as a judge. He got to know the Malediver as honest, religious Moslems. Ibn Battuta also reported that on the Maldives would be used Kauri shells as means of payment and that the sultan of Male, who had a monopoly on this means of payment, exported Kauri shells in big style far until the 16. century to South-India and Sri Lanka.


In the 14th century the Maldives of the first Sultanin Khadeeja Rehendi Kabaidhi Kilege were ruled over. She ruled with interruptions over altogether 35 years. Although the Maldives were religious Moslems, there were some customary customs which have met with great horror with the Arab Moslems anyway. The women of the Maldives have never carried a face cloth and were partly also only dressed in a hip cloth. The marriage customs were already always very uncomplicated on the Maldives, to this day, to this day, what hardly changed has. This only applies, however, to Moslems, for Christians the pretty women of the Maldives are taboo to this day.


Although the Maldives as a hospitable country were known, shipwrecked persons could hardly hope for great help because according to a Maledivian law falls a ship run aground into her possession and usually so long waited with the help it washed to the ship on a reef and it was already too late for a help. Seafarers run aground were f.e. Francois Pyrard, French shipwrecked person which was caught on the Maldives 5 years (1602-1607), Christopher and Powell both Second lieutenants of the Indian navy (1835) and H.C.P. Bell, British archeological Inspector on Ceylon (1879). From Bell are the most detailed reports on the Maldives.


The 16th century the Portugueses reached the Indian ocean and beginning occupied South-India and Ceylon first. The very unpopular Hassan the 9th requested 1558 the Portugueses at help against rebellious Maldivian. This was the opportunity for the Portugueses under leadership of Andreas Andre, occupying MalÚ and the other atolls. She destroyed all mosques and built churches at convert Maldivian to the Christian faith. The Portugueses discovered, however, iron resistance at this.


The Maldivian peoples started a guerilla war with support of the Malabar under leadership of Mohamed Thakurufaanu. At the 4. February 1573 he succeded in then expelling the Portugueses and as result he was chosen to the sultan. Mohamed Thakurufaanu is one of the biggest popular heros in the history of the Maldives even if the sultans after him still had the often attacks of the Portugueses after him to demur.


The sultan Ibrahim Iskander which also let the Friday mosque Hukuru Miskiy build, which coining stamp established and the first school founded was particularly successful in the fight against the Portugueses. His concubine Mariyam Kabafaanu poisons him and takes on the power in the name of their common son Kuda Muhammad. In the year 1691 she and her son died at the explosion on board of her ship.


In the 17th century the Dutchmen took the place of the Portugueses for it on Ceylon off and there for more at the trade, when interested in conquests were, maintained with the Maldives a loose tribute relationship they.


The Englishmen took Ceylon in 1802 and got down to including the Maldives first cartographically under the management of captain Moresby in 1834. Today, his notes still serve as a basis for English nautical charts, too. The British civil servant H.C.P. Bell went 1883 to the Maldives and prepared the most detailed monographs existing till now.


The Englishmen locked with the Maldives a patronage contract the Maldives obliged himself in it to not enter into any agreement with other countries and to pay a tribute in return for the protection by the Englishmen to England.


The first constitution of the Maldives takes force.


The Englishmen set up an air force base on Gan in the Addu atoll.

2. World War

During the 2nd World War the Englishmen on Gan opened an air force base. In 1965 the Maldives got the complete independence and the air force base leased to 1976 was dissolved on Gan and is a tourist island today.


The Maldives pay the last tribute payment to England.

1. Republic

As 1932 the democratization process started on the Maldives. The sultan Shamsuddin III. changed the absolute sultanate into a constitutional one. The first republic was founded by Amin Didi under the presidency on 1. 1. 1953. He also could have become a sultan, however, would want to help the Maldives to get a more modern type of state. He had brought about many reforms to the country. Current came through him after time, schools were extended and he carried out changes at the houses and on the islands to the malaria prophylaxis. The attempt to wean the compatriots from smoking remained, however, without success. Didn't bring him only friends his reforms and after only 9 months in the office in MalÚ he was shot and lies buried on Kurumba Village.


After his death a sultan came to the power, Mohammed Fareed (1954-1968), again. Under his rule there was a revolt of the two southern atolls under leadership of Afif Didi. The reason was, that times intending the Englishman to extend her base to Gan further only draggingly followed. The south atolls expected to achieve work and good income from the Englishmen and therefore entered into a separate contract with the Englishman, the 4 years insisted had. The Englishmen decided to cooperate, with time in 1963 again what kind of the southern atoll was a defeat. Afif Didi escaped to the Seychelles.


The 1st diving-expedition on Maldives make the Austrian dive-pioneer Hans Hass with his ship, driving under Austrian flag into the Indian ocean. The Xarifa comes to Gan from 12-21-1957 and drive to 4-21-1958 up to the Shaviyani atoll. The films of Hans Hass were the first basis for today's diving tourism.

Prof. Hans Hass and his wife Lotte Hass (Photo copyright by Hans Hass!)


The Maldives get independent on July 26th and in the same year they became a full member of UNO.

2. Republic

The republic was exclaimed under leadership of Ibrahim Nasir once more on the 11th November 1968. After ten years Maumoon Abdul Gayoom assumed the president office. Under his period of office the present large Friday mosque and the Islamic center were built and the Maldives changed of one of the 25 poorest countries of the earth to relative prosperity.


The first tourists, 22 Italian divers, landed on the island of Kurumba in the north Male atoll on February 16th, 1972 and this was the beginning of the Maldives tourism. The real forerunners were, however other: The incomparable, Austrian diving sapper Hans Hass with the Xarifa and his crew the Maldives already went before this one had, and the photographer Michael Friedel confessed today everywhere who took a photograph of the Maldives for the German magazine "Stern" in 1973 and had made her through it only popularly. A name is still connected with the Maldives narrowly: Georg Krose, the founder of "Sub Aqua", the 1973 on Baros the first diving base set up. The Maldives catalog of "Sub Aqua" and the photos of Michael Friedel are already almost knowner than the Coca-Cola company.


The Englishmen vacate her base on Gan and the Maldives are included in the group of the non-aligned states.


President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is elected president for the first time on 11-11-1978 and confirmed in his office each 1983, 1988, 1994, 1998, and 2003 lately.


Failed attempted putsch of the former president Ibrahim Nasir. Ibrahim Nasir died on 22. Nov 2008 in the age of 82 years in Singapore.


Tamilian separatists revolted on 9-3-1988. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom must escape from the capital MalÚ and asks for foreign support. Indian paratroopers land in MalÚ and suppress the rebellion. By this revolt 25 people were killed. A year later in November 1989, the Indian troops moved back to India again.


The year 2002 was celebrated as "30 Years Tourism on the Maldives" and J÷rn Bernard founded the great environmental protection action Protect the Maldives in May 2002, this is brought home by Maldives fans from Europe to the whole world!


A gigantic tidal wave was activated by a seaquake in Indonesia on December 26th, 2004 and the Maldives were affected also very heavily. By the Tsunami died on the Maldives 82 persons and further than missed are 26 Maldivian persons. Approximately 12,000 persons got homeless by this natural disaster and 18 tourist resorts had to be closed for for some time.


For the first time in the history of the Maldives several political parties were allowed by constitution in 2007 and the freedom of the press was also guaranteed in 2008.


In the 1st free election on November 8th, 2008 another 4 political parties also competed for the first time with the party of the acting president. For the 1st ballot Maumoon Abdul Gayoom leds still scare in front of Mohamed (Anni) Nasheed. At the final election on November 28th, 2008 won, however, the formerly politically prisoner Mohamed Nasheed quite clear with 54 percent in front of the former dictator Gayoom (46 percent).


After the big tourism-decline 2005 after the Tsunami and during the worldwide economic crisis 2008 and 2009, it was firts time exceeded the magic number of tourist 750,000 in December 2010.

07. Feb. 2012

After one and a half months of political and religious demonstrations of the opposition parties, the first democratic President of the Maledives, Mohamed Nasheed had to resign at a putsch under police-force and was forced to abdicate. As the new president took the previous vice-president Dr. Mohamed Waheed the office (the 5th president).

17. Nov. 2013

Although Mohamed Nasheed received in the presidential election the most votes, it was not enough for an absolute majority and in the subsequent run-off election won Yameen Abdul Gayoom, the younger half-brother of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the only reason, because the vote-weakest Jumhoree Party (JP) joined for the duration of the election of the Progressive Party (PPM) of Yameen, so that it won the election scarce.

13. Mar 2015

Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim was arrested and after the two opposition parties MDP (Maldivian Democratic Party) and JP (Jumhooree Party) want to form a coalition, former President Mohamed Nasheed was arrested and Ibrahim Qasim, the owner changed Villa Hotels, leased islands are expropriated and dubious lease payments required of him.

26. Mar 2015

On February 22, the former first democratic President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed is arrested by the police force and sentenced on March 13, 2015 as an alleged terrorist to 13 years in prison, although 2 of its 3 judges were also his accusers at the same time. President Yameen has its biggest competitor for the next presidential elections checkmated.

24. Oct. 2015

Vice president Adeeb is suspected after a bomb attack on the boat of the President as an interested party, he was arrested and deposed on Oct. 25.

04. Nov. 2015

In order to prevent demonstrations, calling President Yameen for the next 30 days the national emergency.

23. Sep. 2018

In the election of the president won the joint candidate of the opposition parties Mr Mohamed Solih. Democracy finally triumphed.

31. Sep. 2023

In the presidential election, the pro-India Ibrahim Mohamed Solih from the MDP was voted out and the pro-China Dr. Mohamed Muizzu of the PPM won the runoff.