The Sultans of the Maldives: A Royal Legacy

The Sultans of the Maldives: A Royal Legacy

The Sultans of the Maldives have a long and illustrious history stretching back hundreds of years. For centuries, they have been the spiritual and political leaders of the Maldives, ruling with grace, wisdom and strength. As a result, the Sultans of the Maldives have left an indelible mark on the nation’s culture and traditions, and their legacy continues to this day. In this blog post, we’ll explore the history of the Sultans of the Maldives and the impact they had on the country.


The Sultans of the Maldives have a long and proud history that dates back to the 12th century. According to historical records, the first Sultan of the Maldives was Sultan Abu Bakr, who ascended to the throne in 1153 AD. From then until 1968, the Maldives was ruled by a succession of Sultans, who held absolute power and presided over a system of feudalism. During this period, the Sultans had complete control over the country’s political and social affairs, as well as its economic and foreign policy. Despite facing numerous challenges and uprisings over the centuries, the Sultans of the Maldives managed to maintain their rule for more than 700 years.

Sultanate period

The Sultans of the Maldives had a long and varied history. After gaining independence from Portugal in 1558, the islands were ruled by the Sultans of the Maldives for centuries. They presided over the nation’s affairs, appointed officials to manage their subjects, and were responsible for ensuring their subjects’ loyalty and respect. During the sultanate period, the country made great strides in terms of infrastructure and economic development. Various temples, mosques, and other structures were built, as well as lagoons and canals to aid navigation. The sultans also established ties with major trading partners in Europe and Asia, allowing the islands to benefit from increased trade. This helped improve the quality of life on the islands, leading to an increase in prosperity and stability.

Under the sultans’ rule, the Maldives saw a flowering of arts and culture. Painters, writers, musicians, architects, and sculptors all flourished during this period. Even today, many artworks commissioned by the Sultans of the Maldives remain standing in tribute to their legacy. In addition to advancing art, literature, and music, the Sultans of the Maldives also strived to provide education for their people. Primary schools and higher education opportunities opened up throughout the archipelago during this time. This allowed more people to access knowledge and understand more about the world around them. To this day, the legacy of the Sultans of the Maldives lives on through its people’s deep cultural roots, warm hospitality, vibrant art scene, and peaceful coexistence with its neighbors.

Republican period

The Sultans of the Maldives ceased to be the ruling monarchs after the Constitution of 1968 abolished the Sultanate and declared the Maldives a republic. This transition marked a new era in the political history of the Maldives and marked the beginning of democracy in the nation. Following the establishment of a presidential system, Ibrahim Nasir became the first President of the Maldives, serving two terms from 1968 to 1978. The monarchy was officially abolished in 1976 and in 1978, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was elected as President, beginning his thirty year rule. Since then, several other presidents have come and gone but the legacy of the Sultans of the Maldives remains. While their reign is over, the impact they had on the country is still remembered today.

Tourists flock to the Maldives for its exotic beauty and rich culture, much of which is still preserved from the time of the Sultanate. There are various historic sites that are associated with past Sultans throughout the country that still attract visitors seeking to explore their grandeur. Even though their reign is over, the Sultans of the Maldives still play an important role in the country’s history and culture. They are revered for their contributions towards promoting peace and stability during their time and even today they are celebrated for their commitment towards preserving traditional customs and culture.

The current sultan

The current head of state of the Maldives is His Excellency Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who was elected President in 2018. He is an independent president, and his role is to be the head of government, the commander-in-chief, and the supreme leader of the Maldivian armed forces. The Sultans of the Maldives have since transitioned to a presidential system, and although they no longer hold the same political power they did in the past, they still play an important role in Maldivian culture and are respected by the people of the nation. There have been several notable Sultans throughout history, such as Sultan Mohammed Shamsuddeen III who reigned from 1717 to 1773 and Sultan Hassan Nooruddin II who reigned from 1808 to 1820. These two sultans were instrumental in modernizing the country and strengthening its economy.

In addition, their reigns saw massive advancements in education, healthcare, transportation infrastructure, and much more. Today, these sultans are remembered for their many contributions to the development of the Maldives. Even today, it is customary for newlyweds to visit the tombs of these sultans as part of their honeymoon traditions. These royal tombs serve as a reminder of the rich heritage that the Sultans of the Maldives have left behind and their lasting influence on the country.

The royal family today

The Sultans of the Maldives still hold a respected and prominent place in the country. The current Sultan, His Highness Sayyid Shihab ud-Din Iskandhar, is the 30th sultan of the country. He reigns over the country with honor and dignity, honoring the traditions and heritage of the centuries-old monarchy. He has established himself as a fair and benevolent leader, continuing to work for the betterment of his people. The royal family also continues to play an active role in preserving the culture and values of the country, contributing to national development and progress.

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