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Maldives History Timeline

1100s - 1500s
  • (1153) Last Buddhist king of Maldives converted to Islam
  • (1558 - 1573) Portuguese occupied Maldives
  • (1573) Local leader, Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam, and two brothers organized revolt, drove Portuguese out of Maldives
1600s - 1800s
  • (1600s) Maldives became protectorate of the Dutch
  • (1752) Malabars invaded the Maldives
  • (1796) British expelled Dutch, took control of Maldives, made it a protected area
  • (1887) Maldives became an internally self-governing British protectorate
1900s
  • (1932) First constitution was adopted, sultanate became an elected position
  • (1947) People's Majlis (Council) passed Bill No. 2/66, authorizing the introduction of the Maldivian Bank and the issuing of currency
  • (1947) Last tribute payment was made to British
  • (1953) Maldives became a republic within the Commonwealth, sultanate was abolished
  • (1954) Sultanate was restored
  • (1954) British were given permission to reestablish wartime airfield on Gan for 100 years
  • (1957) Ibrahim Nasir became prime minister
  • (1959 - 1962) Maldives government challenged by local secessionist movement in southern atolls, ties were cut with the government; independent state, United Suvadive Republic formed, with Abdulla Afif Didi as president
  • (1963) United Suvadive Republic collapsed, rejoined Maldives
  • (1965) Maldives gained independence from British
  • (1968) Following referendum, sultan was deposed, republic was reinstated with Ibrahim Nasir as president
  • (1970s) Economy suffered setback from collapse of dried fish exports to Sri Lanka
  • (1972) Constitution amended, presidential term extended to five years, provided for election of the prime minister by the Majlis (council)
  • (1973) Nasir elected to second term as president under new constitution
  • (1975) Prime Minister Ahmen Zaki arrested in bloodless coup, banished to remote atoll
  • (1975) British closed airfield on Gan, added to Maldives' economic woes
  • (1978) President Nasir resigned, fled to Singapore; an investigation revealed he had absconded with millions of dollars from the state treasury
  • (1978) Maumoon Abdul Gayoom elected president to replace Nasir
  • (1978) Maldives joined International Monetary Fund and World Bank
  • (1980s) Tourism fueled economic growth
  • (1983) Gayoom reelected president with more than 90% of the votes
  • (1982) Maldives became member of British Commonwealth of Nations
  • (1985) Maldives was one of founding members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) established in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for the purpose of promoting economic cooperation and alleviating poverty in South Asia
  • (1988) People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) staged coup to oust President Gayoom; attempt failed after India's Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi dispatched 1,600 troops by air to restore order
  • (1997) Maldives adopted new constitution, President Gayoom enshrined as head of state, government, judiciary, security forces
  • (1998) Gayoom reelected to fifth term as president
2000s
  • (2000) Three candidates in 1999 parliamentary elections were tortured after being detained on suspicions of instigating unrest, according to Amnesty International
  • (2002) Due to worries over rising sea levels, Maldives government announced decision to take legal action against U.S. for refusing to sign Kyoto Protocol, the first international agreement to fight global warming

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.