Archaeological finds indicate that the Maldives was inhabited as early as 1,500 BC but much of the country’s origin is lost in time due to a lack of surviving written records. However, there are all kinds of fascinating folklores and myths about the history of the Maldives.
It is believed that the most important factor that contributed to the first ever settlement of people in the Maldives is its geographical location. Large ruins and other archaeological remains found in the islands including those bordering the equatorial channel and the One and a Half Degree channel bear testimony to the fact that people of antiquity had indeed stumbled upon the country during their travels.
Although it is most probable that early Maldivians were Buddhist or Hindus migrating from the Indian subcontinent, the archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl, who carried out extensive archaeological research in the Maldives and has contributed significantly to theories of the origins of the country, stated that some of the figures unearthed from the ancient mounds bore a striking resemblance to the figures he had investigated on Easter island in the Pacific Ocean. Many of these theories, however, are still a matter of controversy and the Maldives still holds many more secrets about its past which are yet to be unearthed.
The Maldives was briefly part of the Portuguese Empire, for 15 years from 1558 onwards, before being overthrown in an uprising. The country was never part of the British Empire but from 1887 to 1965 it was classed as a Protectorate of Great Britain before becoming a republic.