The following content has been retrieved from the Twitter account of Naajih Didi, Research Analyst and Historian, and has been published on ‘The Times of Addu’ with his permission. ‘The Times of Addu’ does not take any credit, nor ownership of this content.

Lakshadweep Islands, which lie off the west coast of India, are the smallest of the Union Territories (UT) under the Government of the India | Photo: Maritime India

According to the oral tradition in Minicoy the present population of Minicoy are descended from two Maldivan princesses named Kambo Ranin and Kohorathu Kamana and their entourage who went to Minicoy centuries ago.

In the known and surviving historical documents we do not have anything that suggests Minicoy being part of Maldives. But according to the Maldivian historian Mohamed Ibrahim Lutfi Maldives lost Minicoy during the reign of King Kalhu Mohamed in the early 1500’s.

While the documents mentioned here is the ancient documents we have mention of Maliku as an island of Maldives in many royal missives between the reign of King Ibrahim Iskandar I and King Mukarram Mohamed Imaduddeen in the 17th and 18th centuries.

When Maldives was invaded by the Portuguese in the 1500’s Minicoy was under the rule of the Malabaris. The Maldivan hero Bodu Thakurufan who liberated Maldives from the Portuguese took his family to Minicoy to keep them safe. The Minicoyans built them a house and a mosque.

When Pyrard de Laval went to Minicoy in the early 1600’s he found that Minicoy had the same language, customs as Maldives and he wrote that earlier it was under the Maldivan rule and the King of that time gifted Minicoy to his brother.

He further wrote that when he went to Minicoy the island was governed by a lady and that she held the position on behalf of the Ali Raja and that she was a near relative of King Ibrahim Kalafan of Maldives and that he has seen her several times from the Royal Court in Māle.

In the mid 1600’s because of the continuous harassment of Ali Raja, King Ibrahim Iskandar (I) sent Maldivan soldiers and took control of Minicoy. Since then the boundary of Maldives was known as Malikaddu (islands between Maliku/Minicoy and Addu) until 1752.

When Ali Raja’s troops invaded Maldives in 1752 they took the control of Minicoy too. During the invasion they took the King of Maldives Sultan Mukarram Mohamed Imaduddeen and the Crown Prince Mohamed Manikfan with some courtiers as captives to the mainland.

After 4 months Maldivians fought back and liberated Maldives. But this time Maldives did not get Minicoy back. It was under the control of Ali Raja. The captive King of Maldives was later sent to Minicoy where he died as a captive. This was his graveatone in Minicoy.

Later in 1790 when the British East India company took control of most of the countries in the Indian subcontinent Ali Raja / Arakkal Bibi was allowed to administer Minicoy in return for a tribute to the East India Company.

In 1858, suzerainty over Minicoy was transferred from the East India Company to the British Crown in the person of Queen Victoria. However Ali Raja’s full control over Minicoy was lost in 1905. From 1905 Minicoy was governed under Malabar District.

Maldives had no political control over Minicoy after 1752. But there are some documents that mentions about Kakaagey Mohamed Didi, a former Prime Minister who went into exile to Minicoy with his two brothers was made the Ruler of Minicoy by the Madras Government in the 1800’s.

During the exile Mohamed Didi’s two brothers Abdullah Didi and Ismail Didi married from Minicoy and their descendants are still there in Minicoy and in Maldives. This includes the current Maldivan Foreign Minister, Abdulla Shahid and the Defence Minister, Mariya Didi.

After India got Independence in 1947 Minicoy became part of India. It is said that a referendum was held and an absolute majority of the Minicoy decided to join India. On 1/11/1956 it became part of the newly formed Union Territory of Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands.

Although Maldivans lost the political control of Minicoy in 1752, Maldivians and Minicoyans had close connection with each other until 1956. In 1956 after the formation of the Union Territory the border between Maldives and Minicoy was officially closed by India.

On 28th December 1976 Maldives and India signed a maritime boundary treaty. The treaty explicitly places Minicoy on the Indian side of the boundary and Maldives never raised any question about it. The mother of Ahmed Hilmy Didi who signed on behalf of Maldives was from Minicoy.

5 responses to “A BRIEF HISTORY Of MINICOY (MALIKU) by Naajih Didi
  1. “In the known and surviving historical documents we do not have anything that suggests Minicoy being part of Maldives”. I have many questions:
    1. Is there any evidence to suggest Minicoy was a part of India?
    2. If your answer is that Malarbar was ruling Minicoy, then my question is, is there evidence Minicoy was a part of India before the Malarbars captured Minicoy?
    3. Is there any evidence of other islands in Maldives to show they are part of Maldives? (for e.g. let say Thinadhoo in Vaavu atoll or Gemendhoo in Laamu atoll or Kuda Bandos in Kaafu atoll)
    4. If you cannot find any evidence to say L. Gemendhoo was a part of Maldives historically then does it automatically give a chance for India to take it?
    5. The article did not talk about the possibility of Minicoy being an independent state? Is it not worth looking at (if it’s not a part of Maldives, then why not look into the possibility that it is also not a part of India. I mean there is the possibility of two independent states that spoke Maldivian language as there are multiple states that speak Arabic)
    6. Officially there was no country called India before 1947. That means even Malarbar was not a part of India. Why not mention this point?
    7. It is said the India made a referendum for Minicoy whether they want to join India in 1947. Since Pakistan is far away, and Maldives was still not Independent, do you think that people of Minicoy was given a fair option to select?

  2. Thank you for your questions Mr. Mohamed. This post was made from a couple of my tweets on the brief history of Maliku. It’s not a detailed article and I have omitted many details to make it brief.

    And as for some of your questions, the answers are already there in the tweets. For instance you can find an answer for your sixth question here “Later in 1790 when the British East India company took control of MOST OF THE COUNTRIES IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT Ali Raja / Arakkal Bibi was allowed to administer Minicoy in return for a tribute to the East India Company.”

    But I would very much like to answer your questions in detail. But won’t be able to do that in a comment here. Hopefully I will write an article based on questions very soon.

    Thank you
    Muhammad Naajih (Naajih Didi)

  3. Thank you very much Naajih. I am also sorry in case my questions sounded a bit unfriendly. But I meant to bring these points to attention. As you indicated in this article not every thing can be included. Once again thank you for your work on researching and publishing on Maldivian history. Keep it up!

  4. 1. Who was the mother of Ahmed Hilmy Didi who signed a treaty between Maldives and India on 28 December 1976? In what capacity did she sign it?

  5. Firstly thanks to both Naajih and afirin athelhe noohaa(it’s supposed to be funny and genuine).it’s sad the our country does not have any documents to prove anything.from what I heard during WWI Maldives refused to help the citizens of Maliku because they are far from the capital and the food was limited. During the hard time it was the Indian government that helped them apparently hence they never wanted to be a part of Maldives.(note: this is not my opinion or something I even believe also I did not do much research to even debate)
    Hope you keep us educated Naajih. Wonder if this dude have a proper research done about the people and early settlers of addu and 4kland as these two group of people have always had a love hate relationship.