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Click to enlargeAccording to folklore, the Maldives was first colonised by an Indo-Aryan race, between the 4th and the 5th centuries BC. However, it is certain that early settlers came via Sri Lanka and practised age-old Buddhist customs.

Click to enlargeThe conversion to Islam took place in 1153. Legend tells us that during this time a demon rose from the depths of the ocean once every month and demanded that a virgin girl be sacrificed. A pious Moroccan saint, Abu al-Barakat, who visited Maldives at that time, learned of the story and exorcised the demon by reading verses from the Quran. The event led the King to embrace Islam.

The country has remained independent except for short periods of time, the longest being the 17-year Portuguese rule in the 16th Century. It is said that the sea grew red with Muslim blood as the invaders tried to enforce their Christian beliefs upon the islanders.


Clark's Anemone Fish


Clown Trigger Fish




© 2000 - 2004 Intourist Maldives Pvt. Ltd. This webpage was last updated on : October 11, 2004
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