The islands are known to be among the most beautiful in the Indian Ocean. But despite being visited by thousands of people each year, little is known about Maldives history.
A quick history of the Maldives
The history of the Maldives stretches back over 3000 years. Compared to its larger neighbours, India and Sri Lanka, little research has been done into the islands’ ancient history. But it is believed to have been a popular stop for sailors from all over the world, including the Ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians.
Buddhism is believed to have been the main religion in the Maldives for over 1000 years, and there are still many Buddhist temples on some islands. In the 12th century, it is said that Arab traders introduced Islam to the islands, and Islam remains the Maldives’ primary religion in the 21st century.
In successive centuries, the islands were ruled by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British, before becoming an independent state in 1965. In 1973, the Maldives made history when it opened its first tourist resort and has since grown to become the exquisite tropical destination that it is today.
Over the last four decades, the Maldives has developed into a world class holiday destination, and is increasingly looking towards sustainable forms of tourism. To learn more about Maldives history, explore the National Museum in Malé or visit Independence Square.