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Maldives, History

The islands were settled by Buddhist peoples from southern Asia. Islam was introduced in the 12th century. The Portuguese traded at Male in the latter half of the 15th century. Although the islands were ruled by a local sultan, European influence was established over the area, first by the Dutch in the 17th century and later by the British. In 1887 the Maldives Islands formally became a British protectorate. In 1965 the Maldives achieved independence as a sultanate, and in 1968 the people voted to establish a republic. In 1988, Indian troops were called in to foil a coup attempt by Tamil mercenaries. In 1998 the country adopted a new constitution.

 
 

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