The Maldives

The Maldives is a country that is made of nearly 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean. The first people arrived in the Maldives from India and from current day Sri Lanka in the 5th century [1]. The people of the Maldives were originally Buddhists, but they were converted to Islam in the 12th century [2]. Since the conversion to Islam, the country has had a very low crime rate [3]. The country was developed mainly from sailors stopping there on the way to the east coming from western countries. The country had an independent Islamic sultanate for many centuries, but during the late 19th to the middle 20th centuries, the Maldives was a British Protectorate. The country gained independence in 1965.

Ibn Battuta stayed in the Maldives for a year. He found that the islands were very tropical and had many exports of fruit and vegetables and fish. He remarked that the islands were very beautiful, and the people closely followed Islam. During his time there he became the qadi (Islamic Judge) for the sultan. While he was qadi, Ibn Battuta tried to make changes to the policies of the country. One major thing he tried to change was the way the women dressed. The Maldives, being an island nation, is very warm. The women would walk around in, what Ibn Battuta regarded, as immoral dress. They walked around without tops, and no head coverings. He tried to make them cover in a more respectful manner, but his attempts were pointless. While he was there, he married the daughter of the sultan for political purposes. He ended up leaving the Maldives because he had a dispute with the Sultan. While he was away in China, he found out that his wife (whom he had divorced before leaving the Maldives) had given birth to his first son.

The Maldives are a popular vacation spot now due to their location. They are set between the Arabian Sea and the Laccadive Sea. The Maldives were struck by the tsunami of 2004 which killed 82 people in the country, and substantially ruined many buildings. There is a republican government (not associated with the Republican party of the United States) and there have been some recent changes to the political party system in the country. While the country is Islamic, there is a balance between Islam and secularism.

 

Sources:

[1] Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations, “History.” Accessed July 25, 2012. http://www.un.int/maldives/history.htm.

[2] BBC News, “Maldives Profile-Timeline.” Last modified October 8, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12653969.

[3] Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations, “History.” Accessed July 25, 2012. http://www.un.int/maldives/history.htm.