The Maldives was formerly known as the Maldive Islands and it is believed that the first inhabitants in the Maldives were Giraavaru tribe in the 5th century BC. Before 1153 AD the settlers of the Maldives were Aryans from Sri Lanka and India, which is the reason for the similarities between old Sinhala and Dhivehi. Archaeological findings state that before the Maldivians embraced Islam Buddhism was practiced by the then Maldivians. Islam was first brought by the Arab traders and travelers who were settled in the Malabar Coast of India who travelled to the Maldives as it was on route of those traders. A Moroccan traveler and historian Mohammad Abdullah Ibn-Battuta visited Maldives during 14th century and documented that the Maldives embraced Islam after an Islamic scholar, Abul Barakaath Yoosuf Al Barbaree visited to the Maldives.
For centuries the Maldives remained a Sultanate and in 1887 the Maldives became a British protectorate. Its first Republican form of Government was established in 1952 but the sultanate was restored in 1954. However, in 1968 as a result of a referendum a republic was established again in the Maldives, which had already signed the declaration of independence with the British on 26 July 1965.