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Culture and Conduct or Local Customs

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The Maldives has been inhabited for at least 2500 years. Visited and enriched over the centuries by contact with sailors from all over, the country has evolved is unique culture. Before the Maldives converted to Islam in 1153 AD, Buddhism was the prevalent religion. Ruins of stupas and other temples still exist to attest to this. The Maldives has always been a very peaceful place apart from a few skirmishes with foreign invaders. The Portuguese, for example, held the nation hostage for about 17 years in the 17th century. From 1887 to 1965, the Maldives was a British Protectorate. Since then, the Maldives has been a sovereign state. Since conversion to Islam, the Maldives remained a Sultanate till the proclamation of the First Republic in 1953. It failed. The Sultanate returned till the Second Republic was proclaimed in 1968. This time it lasted. Maldivian Culture is a unique and practical phenomenon born of the fisherfolk, the adventurer on the high seas, and the always-welcome guest. Binding this whole is our unique Sanskrit-driven language (called Dhivehi) and the Islamic faith.

Edited byishareef on 07.10.2006

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