Maldives National Day

Maldives National Day

First day of Rabi-al-Awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar
The Republic of Maldives is an island nation comprised of approximately 1,190 islands in the Indian Ocean. The people of the islands had easy access to precious cowry shells (historically used as currency and in jewelry) and ambergris (a substance produced in the digestive system of sperm whales and used in perfumes). These valuable resources attracted the attention of Portuguese explorers. In 1558, the Portuguese attacked the Maldives islands, killed the country's sultan, and established their own rule. For the next 15 years, the Portuguese ruled the country, despite the islanders' wishes for its former leadership. Among other rules, the Portuguese tried to force Christianity on the Maldivians, who were an Islamic people.
In 1573, a Maldivian named Muhammad Thakurufaanu and his brothers killed the Portuguese leader Andreas Andre and recaptured the island of MalÉ. Thakurufaanu served as sultan for 12 years, during which time he formed an army, introduced coins, and improved trade and religious observances. His dynasty lasted for the next 132 years.
Today, Maldives celebrates National Day to commemorate the historic event in which Thakurufaanu overthrew the Portuguese rulers. Celebrations on this holiday, which falls on the first day of Rabi-al-Awwal (the third month in the Islamic calendar), consist of parades and root marches in the streets of MalÉ and other islands.
CONTACTS:
Ministry of Legal Reform, Information and Arts
Rehendhihigun
960-333-4333; fax: 960-333-4334
www.maldivesinfo.gov.mv
References in periodicals archive ?
Maldives National Day celebrates the victory of Muhammad Thakurufaanu over the Portuguese in 1573, ending the 15 year colonial rule.