Discovering Malei Island’s Wondrous History

Malei Island in the Maldives has a vibrant and intriguing history that deserves exploration. From early settlements to Islam’s arrival and colonial powers’ influence, Malei’s history speaks volumes about its cultural and historical importance. In this blog post, we’ll take you through some of Malei’s most significant landmarks as we uncover its fascinating past.

Early Settlements

Malei Island has been inhabited for over 2,500 years. The first inhabitants were likely Austronesian people from Southeast Asia who arrived in the Maldives around 1500 BC. Later on, Dravidian people from India subcontinent brought with them their language, culture and traditions.

Islam Arrives in Malei Island

In the 12th century, Islam spread throughout Malei Island and became one of the first islands to adopt it. One of Malei Island’s oldest mosques, Old Friday Mosque was constructed in 1656 and serves as both a cultural and historical landmark with its coral stone walls, intricate woodcarvings, and distinctive minaret that resembles a pagoda-shaped structure.

Colonial Influence

From 1887 to 1965, the Maldives was under British protection in Malei Island. During this time there were significant changes to its economy, politics and culture as they constructed schools, hospitals and other infrastructure. Furthermore, they introduced new crops such as coconuts and rubber trees for exportation back home.

Malei Island has become a bustling tourist hub, offering visitors an opportunity to explore its vibrant history and culture through museums, cultural centers, and historic sites. One such landmark is Hukuru Miskiy mosque (known as Friday Mosque), built in 17th century with intricate carvings and decorations that captivate visitors’ attention.

The Maldives National Museum, situated in Male’s capital city, is worth visiting. Here you’ll find an array of artifacts illustrating the Maldives’ history and culture from ancient Buddhist relics to Islamic pieces as well as colonial-era items.


Malei Island’s rich cultural and historical legacy bears witness to its cultural and historic importance. From early settlements, to Islam’s arrival on the island, colonial powers have all left their mark on Malei’s culture and history. Visitors can explore this fascinating past by visiting its historical sites, museums, and cultural centers such as Old Friday Mosque or Hukuru Miskiy mosque – landmark landmarks that showcase both Indian-Islamic architectural styles; while Maldives National Museum provides an insight into this captivating island’s fascinating culture and history.

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