The archaeological ruins of temples, old mosques, shipwrecks, forts and memorials that remain on many islands form a snapshot of an intriguing history of the Maldives.Many artifacts have been found and are housed at the National Museum in Male.

Others remain buried and occasionally see the light of day, supporting ongoing research being carried out at the Centre for Linguistic and Historical Research, Male.

    1. The old fort in Male, The Akoatey Buruzu, early 1900's.
    2. Old Mosque on Gnaviyani.
    3. British War Memorial, Seenu.
    4. The old mosque on Kolhufushi in Meemu was badly damaged in the 2004 Tsunami.
    5. Stonework from the remains of 'Nilandhoo Foamathi' in Faafu.
    6. A holy tomb or 'Ziyaarai' on Vaadhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu.

The Maldives has been inhabited for at least 2500 years. Visited and enriched over the centuries by contact with sailors from all over, the country has evolved its unique culture. Before the Maldives converted to Islam in 1153 AD, Buddhism was the prevalent religion. Ruins of stupas and other temples still exist to attest to this. The Maldives has always been a very peaceful place apart from a few skirmishes with foreign invaders. The Portuguese, for example, occupied the nation for about 17 years in the 17th Century. From 1887 to 1965, the Maldives was a British Protectorate. Since then, the Maldives has been a sovereign state. Since conversion to Islam, the Maldives remained a Sultanate till the proclamation of the First Republic in 1953. It failed. The Sultanate returned till the Second Republic was proclaimed in 1968. This time, it lasted. Maldivian culture is a unique and practical phenomenon born of the fisherfolk, the adventurer on the high seas, and the always-welcome guest. Binding this whole is our unique Sanskrit-driven language (called Dhivehi) and the Islamic faith.


    Conversion to Islam i(from Buddhism): 1153 AD
    Portuguese occupythe country: 1643 AD
    Mohamed Thakurufaan of Utheem liberates the country: 1658 AD
    Maldives becomes' a British Protectorate: 1887 AD
    The First Republic: 1953 Independence: July 26, 1965
    The Second Republic: November 11, 1968


Religion: Islam (Sunni) Status: Every Maldivian is a Muslim


The early history of the Maldives is enshrined in myth and legend. Archeological records indicate that the first visitors to the Maldives stepped ashore over 5000 years ago. According to folklore the Maldives was first colonized by an Indo-Aryan race between the fourth and fifth centuries B.C.

    1 st Century AD Roman manual of navigation Periplus Mari Erithraei mentions islands assumed to be Maldives
    2nd Century AD Ptolemy refers to Maldives in his geography.
    362 AD Roman historian records visit of delegation to Rome bearing gifts to Emperor Julian.
    662 AD Historical Chinese document records the King of Maldives sent gifts to Chinese Emperor Kao-Tsung of Tang Dynasty.
    @1153 Maldives convert to Islam
    1558 Portuguese invade Maldives
    1573 Mohamed Thakurufaanu liberates Maldives from the Portuguese
    1752 The Malabars invade and rule for 3 months
    1887 Protectorate agreement with Great Britain
    1932 First constitution enacted
    1953 The first Republic
    1954 Failure of the first Republic
    1965 Independence from the British
    1968 End of the monarchy, beginning of the second Republic
    1972 Development of the first island resort
    1972 Arrival of first tourists to island resorts