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Maldives

2002 Maldives

The Maldives are excellent sailors and fishermen, and have traditionally had close contacts with the Asian continent. From there, in the 12th century, the Islamic and Arab influence emerged. The archipelago occupied Islam as religion and the Sultanate as a form of government.

According to Countryaah website, early European colonizers reached the Maldives, which were naturally on the route to the Far East. But the indigenous resistance of the natives to foreign domination forced the Portuguese to seek alternative ports, and instead settled in Goa on the west coast of India.

In time, however, the Maldives Sultan submitted himself to the "siren song" of the agents of the British Empire, and in 1887 agreed to become a British "protectorate". With its poor economy based on the production of coconut oil, fishing and the cultivation of tropical fruits, the islands were not particularly economically attractive to the English. But they had great strategic significance, which became even greater with the opening of the Suez Canal.

The naval base on Gan Island - located at the equator - was part of the safety chain controlling the shipping from Gibraltar to Hong Kong over Aden and Singapore.

The locals did not care about the English, not even as a laborer, and therefore did not do much to ensure its education, health or welfare. Even today, the country has only 1 teacher for every 2,000 inhabitants and only 1 doctor for every 15,000, as well as one of the lowest registered incomes per year. inhabitant of the world.

This situation stimulated the feelings of rebellion against the Sultan, the only one who benefited from colonialism in his capacity as an intermediary between the metropolis and his people.

In 1952, the people revolted, crashed the monarch and proclaimed the republic. The British troops intervened to "restore peace and order" and inaugurated the Sultan on the throne two years later. In 1957, Britain asked for permission to expand the naval base at Gan, to install war aircraft facilities. The proposal triggered widespread opposition, and pro-British Prime Minister Ibrahim Alí Didi was forced to step down. His successor, Amir Ibrahin Nasir, rejected the proposal on the grounds that it violated the country's neutrality.

In 1959 the people of the southern islands rebelled and detached themselves under the name of the Republic of Suvadiva. The experience of freedom once again became flighty. In 1960, the 20,000 Suvadiva Republicans were re-incorporated into the Sultanate. The colonial lords took advantage of the situation to enter into a new agreement with the monarch, which extended the protectorate agreement and allowed for the maintenance and expansion of the bases.

This time, the British paid nothing - only the wages of British soldiers and the ammunition that crushed the rebellion in the south. But the British Empire was nearing its end. During the 1960s, the colonial power decided to withdraw from its strategic positions «east of Suez», while ensuring that its interests were defended by the United States.

In 1965, the Maldives gained independence and were immediately recognized by the United Nations. The Sultan could not survive the lack of foreign support. In 1968, by a referendum, it was decided to turn the country into a republic, and Amir Ibrahim Nasir who had been prime minister until then became the country's first president.

The base of Gan remained on British hands until 1975, when the United States' building of modern war installations on the neighboring island of Diego Garcia made it superfluous.

In March 1975, President Nasir announced the unveiling of a plot led by Prime Minister Ahmed Zaki, who was arrested on a deserted island with a number of his supporters. Nasir had offered to lease the abandoned military installations on Gan to multinational companies, but this was rejected by the legislative assembly - Majlis. Nasir acknowledged being a minority and did not stand for a third term at the 1978 presidential election. Instead, Majlis appointed Maumoon Gayoom - an internationally regarded Islamic intellectual.

 

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