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Much of the Maldives history reached
our age as folk tales and legends. It is
believed that the Islanders of
Giraavaru were those who had
authority over Male Atoll. Male’
(presently the Capital of Maldives) was
used for cutting and processing the
fish that the Giraavaru people caught.
The legend goes to state that a
Srilankan family after obtaining
permission from the Giraavaru Village
settled in Male. Afterwards when
descendants from India and Sri Lanka
settled in the Maldives, out numbering
the Giraavaru Islanders, the father of
the family Koimala became King of
Because of the Geographical Location,
Maldives lay on the trade routes which
best suited as a transit (or stop-over)
for traders from Arabia, China and
India. Maldivians traded coconut and
dried fish and not to mention
“precious” cowry shell, a small white
shell found on the beach that was
used as currency in the Indian Ocean
region. Norway and West Africa too
had trade relationship with the
Conversion to Islam
Islam was wide spreading in Asia in the
14th Century. A Muslim delegation
reached Maldives too. The delegation
was head by a Morroccan Sheikh by
the name Abul Barakaath Yousuf Al
This was during a time when the
people of Maldives lived in fear of the
then notorious king and his royal Army.
Killing, raping, torture and other
inhuman crimes by the people of
authority reached a point it had never
Sheikh Abul Barakaath Yousuf
Albarbary and his delegate were
welcomed by the Maldivians with open
arms. It is said that the majority of
Maldivians residing in Male accepted
Islam right then.
After the King was confronted and
defeated by Sheikh Abdul Barakaath
Yousuf Albarbary, he too embraced
Islam and ordered all his subjects to
follow him. And the entire Maldivians
who practiced Buddhism, converted to
Islam under the delegate head.
The British Protectorate
After the British Government promised
Maldives, Military protection and that it
would not interfere with local ruling of
the country in exchange for an annual
tax paid by the Maldives, the Sultan of
the Maldives signed an agreement with
the British Governor of Ceylon turning
the Maldives into a Protectorate of the
Addu Atoll, the southernmost atoll of
the Maldives was converted into a
Military Base of the British in 1957.
When it was too expensive to maintain,
the British decided to give up the base
after 19 years.
The Maldives gained independence on
July 26, 1965.