Independence Day in the Maldives Date in the current year: July 26, 2024

Independence Day in the Maldives The Republic of Maldives celebrates its independence from the United Kingdom on July 26. Independence Day is one of the public holidays in the Maldives, but it is not the country’s national day.

The Maldives is an island country in South Asia, consisting of 26 atolls. Although there is little information about the archipelago’s first settlers, they are believed to have arrived from the southern shores of the Indian subcontinent. For a period of 1,400 years, the Maldives were a Buddhist kingdom, which had a significant influence on their culture.

Around the 12th century, Arab traders brought Islam to the Maldives. In 1153 (or, according to some sources, in 1193), King Dhovemi converted from Buddhism to Islam and assumed the name of Muhammad al Adil and the Muslim title of Sultan.

European colonization of the Maldives began in the mid-16th century. In 1558, the Portuguese established here a small garrison with a trading post that was administered from their main colony in Goa. Fifteen years later, they were driven from the archipelago after a popular revolt. In a century, the Dutch established hegemony over the Maldives but didn’t get directly involved in local matters.

In the late 18th century, the British expelled the Dutch from Ceylon, becoming the dominant power in the region. The Maldives were included as a British protected area. In 1887, the Sultan of the Maldives signed a protection agreement with the British Governor of Ceylon, turning the islands into a British protected state. The Maldives retained internal self-government, but lost sovereignty in foreign affairs.

After the death of Sultan Abdul Majeed Didi in 1953, the Maldives proclaimed a republic under president Mohamed Amin Didi. However, the First Republic of the Maldives was short-lived. The next year, the Maldives were transformed back into a sultanate. Five years later, three remote southern atolls separated from the sultanate and proclaimed themselves the United Suvadive Republic. In 1963, the Suvadives capitulated and rejoined the rest of nation.

In line with the UK’s broader policy of decolonization, the Maldives signed an agreement with the United Kingdom, ending the British responsibility for the Sultanate’s defense and external affairs. The Maldives thus achieved full political independence on July 26, 1965.

Maldives Independence Day is a public holiday marked with various festive events held throughout the country. They include, but are not limited to, colorful parades and processions involving the National Security Service and the National Cadet Corps, performances by school students, flag hoisting ceremonies, handicraft shows, cultural shows, and more. The biggest celebration is held at the Republic Square in the capital city of Malé.

Despite its importance, Maldives Independence Day isn’t the country’s national holiday. The National Day of the Maldives (Qaumee Dhuvas) is celebrated on the 1st of Rabi al-Awwal in the Islamic calendar. It commemorates Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam’s victory over the Portuguese in 1573.

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