Earlier called the Maldives Island, Maldives came into existence in the 5th century BC. According to the historical pieces of evidence, Maldives was first inhabited by the Dravidian of South India and also by the Buddhist people from Sri Lanka. Besides people from South India, and Sri Lankan Buddhists Maldives was also home to Sindhi, Gujjar, and Jat communities from northern India. However, there is valid or solid evidence of the early life stage of the country as the first written evidence of the origin of this country is of Sinhalese who reached the country between 543 BC and 483 BC.
The Ancient Maldives
Some archaeologists believe that Maldives came into existence properly in the year around 2000 BC and it was serving as a trading hub for many of the countries like Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Romans, and also the traders of Indus Valley. Redins who were the prime worshipper of the sun god was first inhabited or descended from any of these groups.
Firstly, around 500 BC the Redin was either absorbed or was left by the Buddhists were usually the Buddhists coming from Sri Lanka and also by the Hindus who were from Northwest India. HCP Bell who was one of the great British Commissioner of CCS (Ceylon Civil Service, he led many archaeological expeditions in the year 1920 and 1922. Apart from these things, he also investigated dome-shaped structures which are also called as Hawittas, ruined structures located mostly in the southern atolls. He used to believe that these Buddhist Stupas were quite identical to the Dagobas or the Darbars found in Sri Lanka.
Expansion of Buddhism
It is believed that Buddhism came into existence in this country during the kingdom of the great Indian King Ashoka but be very clear that is no written proof of this. It is believed that Buddhism was in the existence in the Maldives until the 12th Century CE.
The Portuguese Control on the Maldives
Portuguese who were ruling in western India and especially in Goa in the early 16th century thought of attaining more trade shares and decided to find out the best possible trading center located in the Indian Ocean. They were also granted with the permission to construct a factory and a fort located in the capital city of Maldives, Male but this was not the end of their greed.
In the year 1558, after getting a few unsuccessful attempts finally Captain Andreas Andre became successful in killing Sultan Ali VI with the help of his newly formed huge army. “Andiri Andirin” was the name by which Maldivians used to call the Portuguese King. In the starting, Andirin used to rule over Male only but gradually he started spreading his kingdom over a large area in the next 15 years. As per the beliefs of some Maldivians then it can be concluded that Andre was born in the Maldives and later was sent to Goa where he started serving the Portuguese in his young age. However, there are many arguments which oppose that Portuguese had never ruled in the Maldives and they are only known for establishing the trading port.
Historical beliefs state that Portuguese was one of the cruel rulers and they forced the Maldivians either to convert their religion into Christianity or they had to sacrifice their lives. Mohammed Thakurufaanu who was the son of one of the influential families residing on Utheemu Island was quite popular for his ongoing resistance related to change in their religion. Thakurufaanu along with his few friends, and two brothers started the chain of guerrilla raids and started the revolt towards Portuguese which resulted fruitfully and all the Portuguese were killed and slaughtered in this rebel.
This special day is celebrated with great pomp and much fervor in the Maldives every year in the form of National Day. This annual celebration is organized every year in the third month and on the first day of the lunar calendar. On the huge and placid Utheemu Island, a beautiful memorial center has been established to dedicate the devotion and honor to Mohammed Thakurufaanu who is reckoned to be the great hero of the Maldives. He was also known for establishing a long and the Sultanic Dynasty. This Sultanic Dynasty ruled for more than 120 years in the Maldives. Also, various reforms were introduced during this kingdom including replacement of the cowry currency, the Defence force, and a new judicial system.
Malaysia Heading towards the Independence
The Portuguese also attacked various other items and the Rajahs of Cannanore was one of the main targets of Portuguese. However, Rajahs of Cannanore was also attempting to target and to gain control over the country. Later, they helped Mohammed Thakurufaanu in organizing the revolt against the Portuguese. After a few years, in the 17th century, Maldives came under the rule of Dutch and the best part was that Maldivians had happily accepted the protection offered by the Dutch who was ruling at Ceylon during that time. Dutch was also having a happy and short-lived Defence treaty with French and it was also maintaining a good relating with the Britishers. Country’s relation with the British grew stronger after the possession of the British at Ceylon in the year 1796. These strong relations made the Maldives free from the external threats and that too without harming the internal autonomy of the country. But none of the foreign companies established their rule in the Maldives for a long time and they couldn’t establish their colonial administration in the Maldives due to the prevalence of malaria, the isolated location of the island, naval stores, scarcity of good ports, and also the productive land.
Later in the year 1860, Male invited the Borah merchants from Bombay to set up some shops and warehouses but it was not turning out in a complete success before they had acquired themselves in a complete foreign trade monopoly. The Maldives made the Borahs scared so that he could gain the complete control over the island and this made Sultan Mohammed Mueenuddin II to sign an agreement in the year 1887 with the Britishers soon after understanding the statehood of the country and formalized its protectorate status.
The 20th Century
The first constitution of the Maldives was imposed in the year 1932 on the great Sultan Shamsuddin. Before this, Maldives didn’t have any written constitution same like the Britishers. Historical records prove that by the 20th century the Maldives had started gaining the democracy and progressiveness with the passing time. This is the time which has been considered and marked as the dawn of the country. Later in the year 1934, Hashar Nurudin acquired the throne and Shamsuddin was dethroned from the throne of Sultan.