Happy Independence Day!
Maldives.net.mv – After a long 78 years of being a British Protectorate, on 26th July 1965 Maldives was granted full independence from the British. To celebrate this independence, the Republic of Maldives, marks the 26th of July and declares it a public holiday. This is the 49th anniversary of independence for Maldives.
Although governed as an independent Islamic sultanate from 1153 to 1968, the Maldives was a British protectorate from 1887 until 25 July 1965. On December 16, 1887, the Sultan of the Maldives signed a contract with the British Governor of Ceylon turning the Maldives into a British protectorate, losing her sovereignty in matters of foreign policy.
The British government promised the Maldives military protection and non-interference in local administration in exchange for an annual tribute paid by the Maldives. In 1957 the British established a RAF base in the strategic southernmost atoll of Addu, where hundreds of locals were employed. Fiscal feasibility in question, 19 years later the British government decided to give up the base, as it was too expensive to maintain
In 1953, there was a brief, abortive attempt to form a republic, but the sultanate was re-imposed. In 1959, objecting to Nasir’s centralism, the inhabitants of the three southernmost atolls protested against the government. They formed the United Suvadive Republic and elected Abdullah Afeef as president and Hithadhoo as capital of this republic.
The agreement giving the Maldives full political independence was signed on behalf of His Majesty the Sultan by Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyri Kilegefan, Prime Minister; and on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen by Sir Michael Walker, British Ambassador designate to the Maldive Islands. The Ceremony took place at the British High Commissioner’s Residence in Colombo on 26 July 1965. After independence from Britain in 1965, the sultanate continued to operate for another three years under King Muhammad Fareed Didi.
On 11 November 1968, the monarchy was abolished and replaced by a republic under the presidency of Ibrahim Nasir, although this was a cosmetic change without any significant alteration in the structures of government. The official name of the country was changed from Maldive Islands to the Maldives. Tourism began to be developed on the archipelago by the beginning of the 1970s. The first accurate census was held in December 1977 and showed 142,832 persons residing in Maldives.