Independence Day in the Maldives
July 17 2019
July 17 2019
The Maldives is known around the world as a bucket list travel destination, a once-in-a-lifetime type of tropical paradise that you know you need to witness for yourself. Seemingly airbrushed coral beaches, reef-protected cyan lagoons teeming with marine life and five-star (plus) luxury resorts that constantly exceed expectations make this a highly-coveted holiday spot a dream destination for wild-hearted adventurers and discerning travellers alike.
What many don’t know about the Maldives is that apart from being one of the most secluded, impoverished (despite its opulent resorts) and smallest island nations in Asia, it has a fascinating history, one that is made up of stories of Sultans and colonialists, which span over millennia. The mesmerising archipelago (consisting of some 1 192 islands), finally gained their independence on 26 July 1965, which officially marked the end of foreign - and specifically at the time, British - rule. Today, the Maldives celebrates its Independence Day each year on the 26 July and it’s a truly sensational time to be in this exotic destination.
Here are some interesting facts about Independence Day in the Maldives:
The Maldives was independent until it caught the attention of the Portuguese
The discovery of the Maldives was said to have happened as early as 1500 BC (according to archaeological findings) but there’s a small chance it was even before this. This gorgeous tropical archipelago grabbed the attention of colonial powers in the 16th century (starting with the Portuguese who ruled the archipelago for 15 years, then the Dutch and the French), who were heavily invested in the trade in the Indian Ocean at the time.
However, the interference of these countries stopped once the Maldives became a British Protectorate in the 19th century. During this period, Maldivian monarchs were afforded a solid measure of self-governance; the Sultan remained the head of state and the British agreed not to interfere with internal matters of the country and vowed to only concern themselves with foreign affairs related to the islands. The British, in turn, were to protect the Maldives from other colonialists and invaders.
Finally, on 26 July 1965, the Maldives gained total independence from the British (despite the fact that the British still maintained an air base on Gan island until 1976). The freedom to govern themselves came with a number of challenges, such as how to address the need for modernisation and economic development. Despite a brief period in the 50s where the Maldives was a republic, once the Maldives separated from the British, a sultanate still existed.
A referendum in April 1968 saw the sultanate abolished and it became a republic once more, with Ibrahim Nasir, the prime minister at the time, becoming president.
Since then, the history of the Republic of the Maldives (as it’s formally known) has been one of stability and growth for the most part, with some political activity in recent years, something that doesn’t affect the resort islands much, and a growing concern surrounding global warming.
The Maldives Independence Day is a public holiday
Given the incredible significance of Independence Day in the Maldives, it has been declared a national public holiday, were Maldivians (those that aren’t scheduled to work) are allowed to stay at home and share the auspicious day celebrating with their loved ones.
The Maldives Independence Day is celebrated with fervour
This year will mark the 54th year of independence for the Maldives. Every year, on the 26 July, this auspicious occasion is celebrated with delight, with all Maldivians (and tourists) eager to join in the festivities. Independence Day in the Maldives is celebrated with ample events that take place throughout the country.
One of the best places to experience Independence Day in the Maldives is in the capital city, Malé, where highlights include parades by the National Security Services and the National Cadet Corps, followed by various performances and processions, which exhibit modern themes as well as traditional values, often enacted by school children dressed in vibrant costumes.
If you find yourself on a resort island during the Maldives Independence day, however, you can rest assured that they will go above and beyond to make this day special for you. Novel experiences, activities, menus and spectacles characterise this day on the resort islands, all of which share the culture and history of this magical destination with guests. Deepen your understanding of this spellbinding country on this momentous occasion for an experience you will never forget.
Looking for the perfect place to celebrate the Maldives Independence Day in paradise? Then be sure to book a stay at the stunning five-star Kanuhura, where each moment here is destined to be exceptional.