It is not known exactly when the first settlers arrived in the Maldives and where they came from. It is likely, however, that they have sailed from India and Sri Lanka to the islands, and approximately in the 5th century. Imported from India and Ceylon Buddhism existed in the Maldives in the 3rd century BC.

The Maldives is in the middle of one of the oldest and most important shipping routes in the world between Arabia, East Africa, India and the Far East. As regularly laid Arab merchants and travelers on their way to the Far East on the islands, whose influence was felt and with time gradually predominant. So visited the Moroccan Barakaath Abu Yusuf al-Barabary the Archipelago and the Maldives in 1153 officially converted to Islam.

Between 1558 and 1573 the Maldives were occupied by the Portuguese, the only rule in history. There were 15 years of terror-reign for the people. The committee set up by the Portuguese ruler, Captain Andreas Andre wanted to convert people to Christianity. The Maldivians were able to choose between conversion or death, resulting in fierce resistance they paid a high price in blood. The islanders were never in their occupants and for years led a guerrilla war against the Portuguese, also the geography that a complete control of the country made virtually impossible. Is collected is because even on the distant islands in the north a new Maldivian leaders. Thakurufaanu Mohammed, the son of a chief, landed in 1573 with its rebels in Male, the Portuguese garrison was under the surprise attack and the power of Portugal about the Maldives was broken. The winning Thakurufaanu was not only the new Sultan, but was still the most famous national hero of the country. In the 17th Century was the Sultanate under the supremacy of the Dutch Ceylon. Always the Maldives were also affected by the events in Sri Lanka. 1796, the British wrested power over the Dutch took over Ceylon and at the same time the protective-authority on the neighboring islands. Created in 1834 Robert Moresby, a British naval commander, detailed maps of the archipelago, which are still used today. In 1887 the Maldives were then a British protectorate. During the Second World War, the British opened an air base on the island of Gan. In 1954 the sultanate was restored in 1965 and finally the Maldives independent. The last Englishman left in 1976, the Air Force supporting point at Gan in Addu Atoll. After a referendum, the republic was proclaimed. 2008, the opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed in the first free elections ousted the long-serving President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was in power since 1978.