by :: Suwaif ::
At the Top End – Maldives Royal Family
The Maldives has a history going back thousands of years but unfortunately there are no written records to establish this. It is generally assumed that the original settlers came from nearby Sri Lanka, India and Bengal. The country was ruled by a series of kings or ‘Maha Raduns’ and sometime even by queens known as ‘Maha Rehendhi’. The earliest known archaeological remains of the country point to a Buddhist civilization that flourished here for 1,400 years. The conversion to Islam took place around the 12th century AD.
Historically Maldives seems to have always had a royal family. It was originally ruled by the Solar and Luna Dynasties. Rulers from the dynasties seem to have intermarried keeping the throne between them. The Maldivian ruling family had the title ‘descended from the moon and the sun’ till they were finally deposed in 1968. Although there appear to have been a Queen Damahaar and King Soorudasaruna Adeettiya from the Solar Dynasty and other rulers under the Luna Dynasty that succeeded it, according to available records Koimala Kalou was the first ruler of the Homa (Luna) Dynasty to rule over the entire country. He ruled from 1117 to 1141. Dhovemi who succeeded him was a Buddhist monarch till 1166 when he converted to Islam. The Luna Dynasty seems to have prevailed up to about 1388 when the Hilaaly Dynasty took over.
The Portuguese took an interest in the affairs of the Maldives in the 16th century and they persuaded the ruler of the time Hassan, to convert to Catholicism in 1550. He took the name Manoel. He was deposed and for about two years a council of ministers ruled the country until Aboobakuru was installed as ruler in 1554. Manoel who had been in Goa India made an appearance as ruler again in 1558 but the country appears to have been run by a regent named Andiri Andiri who converted to Catholicism and ruled in place of Manoel who continued to stay in Goa. 1573 seems to have been a murky period in Maldivian history when Andiri Andiri was assassinated by the Maldivian hero Mohammed Thakurufanu credited with keeping the Portuguese at bay. He assumed control of the country with the connivance of Ali Raja of Cannore. In order to get Ali Raja off his back Thakurufanu agreed to recognize Manoel as the head of state while Manoel continued to remain in Goa. Thakurufanu installed himself and his brother as co regent and assumed the title Sultan on the death of Manoel in 1583. There was a series of claimants to the Maldivian throne based in Goa till 1632 while Thakurufanu continued to call himself Sultan. In that year Mohammed Immadudine was proclaimed the ruler after the defeat of the Portuguese force sent to change the situation with regard to the regency. The Utheemu Dynasty was now launched. The early 18th century was another period of confusion in the country with rulers being deposed and dynasties changing hands. It was further confused by the invasion of Ali Raja of Cannore who kidnapped the ruler of the time. Matters were sorted out in 1759 when the Huraagey Dynasty took power. The country came briefly under the Diyamigily Dynasty in 1766 but was restored to the Huraagey Dynasty in 1774. This Dynasty remained in power till 1968. As with royal families everywhere there were plenty of murders, poisonings, power grabs, dynastic marriages, Machiavellian tactics, vicious and tyrannical rulers and outside interference.
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