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maanantai 15. elokuuta 2016

Maldives, Cool Facts #130

<= 129. Nepal                                                                                                            131. Sri Lanka =>

1. Explorers in Maldives

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to visit the islands in the 1500s. The Dutch and British followed them in the following centuries and before becoming independent, Maldives was a British Protectorate. 

Before the Europeans, Maldives had already visitors from Arabic countries, Madagascar, South-East Asia and China. Somalian people visited Maldives and the islands were also used by pirates as a hide-out. 

Different goods were exported from Maldives to Sindh, China, Yemen and the Persian Gulf. This centuries-long exposure to influences from Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia can be seen in borrow-words, material culture and Maldivian phenotype

One of the reasons of being influenced by so many different cultures is the location of the Maldivian islands in the Indian Ocean, which have been in the crossroads of the different trade routes. 

Maldives atolls

2. Muslim Country with Buddhist Past  

- Buddhism probably spread to Maldives in the 200s BC at the time of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka the Great
- Maldives was a Buddhist country until the mid-1100s
- Muslim traders introduced Sunni Islam
- Many Buddhist temples were destroyed after the conversion to Islam
- According to legend, Maldives converted to Islam in 1153
- Abul Barakat Yoosuf Al Barbary from North Africa was responsible for converting first the king and later the rest of the population to Islam in Maldives
- The Malé Friday Mosque is the oldest mosque in Maldives, it was built in 1658 close to the tomb of Abul Barakat Yoosuf Al Barbary
- Sunni Islam is the official religion of Maldives
- Adherence to Islam is required to get the Maldivian citizenship
- Open practice of any other religion than Islam is forbidden and liable to prosecution

Malé Friday Mosque

3. Sultanate of Maldives 

Maldives was a monarchy for 853 years. In 1153 the last Buddhist king converted to Islam and became the first Sultan of Maldives. The importance of Arab traders in the Indian Ocean might have been an important factor in the conversion.

In 1932 the Sultans became elective and in 1968 Maldives became a republic after a referendum, thus ending monarchy in Maldives.

The monarchy lasted for 853 years in Maldives. King Koimala was the first king to rule the whole of Maldives after he reclaimed the northern atolls from the Indian invaders. His sister's son Dhovemi was the one who converted to Islam.

So Dhovemi was first a king and then the first Sultan of Maldives. After Dhovemi all the monarchs were Sultans until the abolition of monarchy. Muhammad Fareed Didi was the last monarch.

Dynasties of Maldives: 

1117-1388 Lunar Dynasty (Theemuge Dynasty later)
1388-1632 Hilaalee Dynasty
1632-1692 Utheemu Dynasty
1692 Hamawi Dynasty
1692-1704 Isdhoo Dynasty
1704-1759 Dhiyamigili Dynasty
1759-1766 Huraa Dynasty
1766-1774 Dhiyamigili Dynasty (restored)
1774-1952 Huraa Dynasty (restored)
1952-1954 First Republic of Maldives
1954-1968 Huraa Dynasty (second restoration)

The last monarch, Muhammad Fareed Didi

4. President For 30 Years 

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was the president of Maldives for 30 years between 1978 and 2008. Gayoom became the president when the previous president Ibrahim Nasir fled to Singapore after having resigned because of corruption charges against him.

Gayoom's presidency:

+ Positive sides
- Period of political stability
- Tourism flourished
- Economic development

- Negative sides
- Freedoms were limited
- Political favoritism
- Autocratic rule
- Human rights abuses
- Corruption

- Won six consecutive elections without opposition
- Coup attempts in 1980, 1983 and 1988
- In 2008 lost the elections to Mohamed Nasheed

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom

Maldives is the lowest country in the world. The highest point of the country is only at 2,4 meters of elevation. 

Geography facts of Maldives: 

- The capital city, Malé, is only 90 centimeters above sea level
- Asia's smallest country by area 
- Maldives consists of 1192 islands of which 220 are inhabited 
- The land is infertile and vegetation is scarce
- Tourism is the biggest source of revenue, because of the beautiful nature and warm climate, which attract people to visit Maldives 

Maldives Beach


Dravidian people from the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka inhabited the islands first
543-483 BC Earliest written history when the Sinhalese people from Magadha landed in Sri Lanka and some in the Maldives
200s BC Buddhism came to the Maldives and became the dominant religion there until the 1100s
1000s Chola Empire conquered parts of the Maldives
1100s Islam spread to the Maldives
1153 The ruler of the Maldives ordered Islam to be the religion of his subordinates and he took the title of Sultan for himself
1300s The Ad-Din family established a Sultanate, which ruled until the 1960s
1558-1573 The Portuguese got control over the islands before the local Sultans banished them
1656 The Dutch East India Company took control over Maldives as they conquered Ceylon
1796 The British defeated the Dutch in Ceylon and they got also the Maldives
1887 The Maldives officially became a British Protectorate retaining its internal self-government
1953 The Maldives became a republic and the Sultanate was abolished
1954 The Sultanate was restored
1959-1962 United Suvadive Republic formed by the southern atolls, with Abdulla Afif Didi as president
1963 The United Suvadive Republic rejoined the Maldives 
1965 Maldives gained independence from Great Britain
1968 Prime Minister Ibrahim Nasir deposed the last Sultan and ended the 800-year old Muslim Sultanate, Maldives became a republic
1978 Nasir fled to Singapore and resigned after corruption charges, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom became the next president
1983 Gayoom re-elected with more than 90% of the votes
1988 People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam staged a coup to displace president Gayoom. The attempt failed after India sent troops to save Gayoom's government
1998 Gayoom re-elected to fifth term as president
2003 Gayoom re-elected to sixth term becoming the longest-serving Asian head of state
2005 Multi-party system was allowed after pro-democracy demonstrations
2008 Mohamed Nasheed won Gayoom in the first multi-party presidential elections
2012 President Nasheed resigned and Vice-President Mohamed Waheed Hussain Manik became the president 
2014 After six decades, Maldives readopted death penalty to be used for certain crimes

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