July 26 – Maldives Independence Day

Posted on July 26, 2013

I read that today is the anniversary of the day when the Maldives islands “got freedom from the clutches of the Britishers.” That description seemed kind of funny, because the same source said that Great Britain had stayed out of the islands' internal affairs, had protected them from other colonizing powers, and had given them their independence without a fight, in 1965. So where did that “clutches” crack come from?

Well, let's face it, the Brits did grab lots of land all over the world, and the fact that Great Britain offered “protection” from other countries (we could say “bullies”) didn't mean that it wasn't a bully itself! The Maldivians had to pay a yearly tribute to Britain—and many Maldivians probably felt that they could and should be an independent nation long before 1965!

The Republic of the Maldives is made up of a double chain of 26 atolls (ring-shaped coral reefs) that lie to the west of India in the Indian Ocean. The Maldivians are closely related in language and culture to the people of India and Sri Lanka. Most people living on the islands in ancient times practiced either Hinduism or Jainism, but Buddhism became the dominant religion a few centuries before the time of Jesus, and Islam took over during the Middle Ages. Islam is now the state religion, and the entire population is Muslim!

Learn about atolls and how they form from National Geographic Education

Check out this list of 10 Interesting Facts about Maldives. I find it interesting that the nation is the lowest, flattest nation in the world, and already 99% of the country is water! My immediate thought was – “Gulp! Global warning! Pretty soon the entire nation will be underwater!” Sure enough, the Maldivians are worried about that, and in 2009 government officials held a cabinet meeting underwater in order to draw attention to the problem. 

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Check out my Pinterest pages on July holidayshistorical anniversaries in July, and July birthdays.

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