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History of Maldives

It is believed that the first settlers of Maldives were the Dravidian people from nearby coasts, most probably fisherman and navigators from India and Sri Lanka. However, there are signs of Arab and east Asian inhabitants mostly in the Southernmost atolls. The islands were located on the trade route allowing the traveller to stop by, hence civilization began.
The first settlers followed Buddhism. This continued for centuries until late 12th century AD.
Maldives accepted Islam in 1153 with help of a Moroccan traveller named Abul Barakaat who, according to a legend, helped to draw off a spirit using his knowledge of the Quran.
Although governed as an independent Islamic sultanate from 1153 to 1968, the Maldives was a British protectorate from 1887 until July 25, 1965. In 1953, there was a brief, abortive attempt to form a republic, but the sultanate was re-imposed. In 1959, objecting to Mr. Ibrahim Nasir’s (who then was the President of the first Republic) centralism, the inhabitants of the three southernmost atolls protested against the government. They formed the United Suvadive Republic, a short lived state, and elected Mr. Abdullah Afeef as president and Hithadhoo from the Southern-most atoll as the capital of this republic. This state was then recognised by the United Kingdom.
The official name of the country was changed from Maldive Islands to the Republic of Maldives over time. Tourism began to be developed on the archipelago in the early 1970s.