The Maldives gained independence from the British Empire on July 26, 1965, after 78 years as a British protectorate.

The British expelled the Dutch from Ceylon and included the Maldives as a nominal British protectorate in 1796.[1]

During the reign of Queen Victoria in 1887, Maldivian King, Muhammad Mueenuddeen II officially accepted British protectorate in the Maldives.[1][2]

During the British protectorate, the Maldivian Sultan's powers were taken over by the Chief Minister and the prime minister.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Nasir signs independence agreement with the British on July 26, 1965.


Prime Minister, Nasir's Role

On 26 July 1965, Prime Minister Ibrahim Nasir signed the independence agreement with the British.[3]

The agreement was reached following discussions between the Maldives' representative in the Dominion of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Abdul Sattar Moosa Didi, and Sir Humphrey Arthington-Davy, the British representative.

RAF Gan, World War II

RAF Gan, 1945

During the Second World War, the British Empire established RAF Gan, Royal Air Force station on Gan Island, (Now Gan International Airport) in Addu Atoll.[4][5][6]

During the reign of Sultan Fareed I, prime minister Ibrahim Faamudheyri Kilegefaan had an secret agreement with the British Empire and gave Gan Island for 100 years.

Ibrahim Nasir was against Ibrahim Faamudheyri Kilegefaan, after Kilegefan resigned as prime minister, Nasir became the Prime Minister of the Maldives.[7]

Addu people wanted to make a new republic, independent from the government in Malé, which was regarded as authoritarian.

On January 1, 1959, the United Suvadive Republic was formed, and when the republic was abolished, the agreement between the Maldives and the British was signed on 26 July 1965.[8]

1796–1965, protectorate

Start of the protectorate

During the British East India Company's trade voyages, it was important for the British to speed up the trades, and for that purpose, the government of the British Empire sent the East India Company's Bambay Marine, captain to make a chart of the sea Maldive Islands in the 1790s.

The British Map of the Maldive Islands (1920)

On 22 February 1887, British officials visited the Maldive Islands to collect information about the situation in the country. after gathering information about the country, the British told the Maldivian Monarch, the country needs to become a British protectorate.[9]

After Independence

After independence, the Kingdom of the Maldives became a titular monarchy, albeit, outside the Commonwealth, which was in turn replaced by a republic on 11 November 1968.

The Maldives became a Special member of the Commonwealth of Nations in July 1982, then a full member state in 1985.

The Maldives temporarily became a republic outside the Commonwealth from October 2016 until 1 February 2020, when the Maldives resumed its status as a Commonwealth republic - and the 2022 Commonwealth Games saw a team from the Maldives compete for the first time since the 2014 Commonwealth Games.


  1. ^ a b Ryavec 1995, p. 259.
  2. ^ Tan, Kevin; Hoque, Ridwanul (2021). Constitutional Foundings in South Asia. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 202. ISBN 978-1509930272.
  3. ^ Ibrahim, Nafaahath. "President participates in Independence Day flag hoisting ceremony". Sun. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  4. ^ Walker, James. "How Maldives gained independence from the British empire". Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  5. ^ Kearney, Jonathan. "Fascinating History of How WWII Brought to the Maldives". maldives traveller. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Timeline – Story of Independence". Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  7. ^ "President Afif didi's letter". Maldives royal family.
  8. ^ Majid, Majid. "Suvadive republic". Maldives royal family.
  9. ^ "Documetary: Sabbees". YouTube (Video). Adhadhu. 27 July 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2023.

Royal Air Force Gan - Remembered
The British Empire
Royal Air Force