Maldives celebrates 55 years of independence from the United Kingdom on July 26.

Although governed as an independent Islamic sultanate from 1153 to 1968, the Maldives was a British protectorate from 1887 until 25 July 1965. On December 16, 1887, the Sultan of the Maldives signed a contract with the British Governor of Ceylon turning the Maldives into a British protectorate, losing her sovereignty in matters of foreign policy (Sajid, 2014).

Independence for Maldives was significant because it enabled the country to seize control over its own economy and develop itself as it pleased.

When the Prime Minister Ibrahim Nasir signed the agreement for independence with the British, the population in Maldives was merely 97,743. Both Sri Lanka and India, nearby countries under the same colonial power, had managed to gain independence from Britain at the conclusion of the World War. Maldives was particularly moved to seek this independence after three southern atolls were claimed as part of a brief Suvadive Republic between 1959 and 1963. Within two months of being granted this independence, Maldives gained membership at the United Nations (September 21, 1965). The country’s flag was then raised at the headquarters on the 12th of October 12, 1965.

Government Cancels Independence Day Celebrations

(Avas, 7 July 2020) The Maldives government has announced it will not be holding Independence Day festivities this year.

Maldives celebrates its Independence Day on July 26 every year. The President’s Office said President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has decided that no Independence Day celebrations will be held this year, including the official assembly, sport festivities and other activities typically held on the occasion of Independence Day in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was made after consulting with the ministers of his cabinet, the President’s Office said.

The President made this decision in adherence to ‘new normal’ guidelines developed to mitigate the risk of COVID-19’s further spread. Not holding the celebrations this year will also help reduce state expenditure, as part of the Government’s ongoing recovery efforts from the economic repercussions of the pandemic, said the President’s Office.

Despite this decision, the President will address the nation to deliver remarks on the occasion of Independence Day, at 1000hrs on Sunday, 26th July 2020.

During cabinet discussions, President Solih also discussed the arrangements in place to hand out this year's National Award of Honour and National Award of Recognition, and sought the advice of his cabinet. These awards will be handed out during this year’s official National Day celebration ceremony, which will fall on October18th this year. Special Achievement Awards will be given to recipients during this year’s official Republic Day ceremony.


  1. Avas (7 July 2020). No independence Day celebrations this year. Retrieved from:
  2. Public Holidays Asia (2019). Independence Day 2019 2020 in Maldives. Retrieved from:
  3. Sajid, M. (26 July 2014). Happy Independence Day! Retrieved from: