Quick reference

General issues: British protectorate 1906-1965, Sultanate 1965-1968, Republic 1968-Present

Country name on general issues: Maldives, Maldive Islands

Currency: 1 Rupee = 100 Cent 1906-1951, 1 Rupee = 100 Larees 1951-Present

Population: 55 000 in 1906, 345 000 in 2013

Political history Maldives

Postal history Maldives

Please click on the image to enlarge

The Maldives – at times called the Maldive Islands – are a nation of coral islands in the Indian Ocean consisting of about 2 000 islands in total, grouped in atolls. In the 19th century the Maldives are an independent sultanate in the British sphere of influence. In 1887, the Maldives formally become a  British protectorate, governed from Ceylon. Being a British protectorate, the islands domestic affairs are governed by the local sultans, with the exception of the period from 1953 to 1954 when the sultan is disposed and a republic is proclaimed. The Maldives gain full independence from Great Britain in 1965 as a sultanate, to become a republic in 1968. The Maldives have experienced several periods of political instability. In 1988 India invades the islands to restore a constitutional government after a coup d’etat. The Maldives economy is largely dependent on tourism.




Postal history Maldives

Postal history Maldives

Republic day – map, coat of arms and flag

The first stamps of the Maldives are issued in 1906, these being Ceylon stamps overprinted ‘Maldives’. The first definitives are issued in 1909. Prior to the first stamps being issued for the Maldives, the stamps of Ceylon were in use. These continued to be used for international mail as the first two issues for the Maldives were valid only for internal mail and mail to Ceylon. Where the number of stamps issued until the 1960’s is very limited, the Maldives have since issued large numbers of stamps mainly aimed at the collectors market.



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