Maldives and France


French naval ship off Dhoonidhoo island: 5 February 2004

A French naval ship off the island of Dhoonidhoo is symbolic of the removal of an unwelcome power illegally occupying Malé. Long may this friendship and symbolism last! (please click to listen to the national anthem)

When the Maldives received French troops in the 18th century, France was on the verge of a revolution that gave democracy to the world.

Liberty Equality Fraternity

As France prepared itself for democracy, Maldivians rid themselves of a foreign invader with the help of France.

In the 21st century, Maldivians are on the verge of a peaceful revolution to achieve democracy. The symbolism is not lost.

Historic relationship

Joseph-François Marquis Dupleix. Governor of French India

Official contact between France and the Maldives goes back to the reign of the Diyamigily King Siri Navaranna Keerithi (Sultan Mohamed Imaduddine III al-Mukarram) in AD 1753.

The King was then in custody at the hands of the Ali Raja of Cannanore at Kavaratti island in the Laccadives. Ali Raja's forces had conquered the Maldives in 1752 and had abducted the king after installing an administrator in Malé.

The occupation lasted only four months when Maldive forces led by an officer of the then disbanded royal militia, Muleegey Dom Hassan Maniku over-powered and slaughtered the invaders in the dead of night. Dom Hassan Maniku (later King Siri Kula Ranmeeba Audha Keerithi Katthiri Bavana also known as Dom Bandaarain) was a direct descendant of the Hilaaly King Dom João.

A French paquebot (liner) used from 1783

Dom Hassan Maniku installed a sister of the abducted king as regent and governed as prime minister until he was proclaimed king in 1759 after the abducted monarch died in custody at the hands of the Ali Raja.

During the premiership of Muleegey Dom Hassan Maniku, the Ali Raja repeatedly attempted to re-capture Malé.

In 1753 the Prime Minister sent a delegation led by the minister Ali Maafaiy Manikfan to meet Ioseph-François Dupleix, Governor of French India based in Pondicherry.

A cipayes (sifain in Divehi and sepoy in English) in India. The cipayes were native soldiers fighting under French command

As a result a French squadron was dispatched under the command of Monsieur Le Termellier to Malé. The squadron did not take long to defeat the Ali Raja's ships anchored off the island of Dhoonidhoo near Malé. It then proceeded to Thiladummati Atoll where a base had been established by the Ali Raja on the island of Dhonakulhi. The Cannanore invaders were dealt with a crushing defeat.

The victorious Maldive forces returned to Malé with their French allies and a pact was signed under which the squadron was allowed to establish a base at the Naaney Buruzu bastion along the Malé town wall. The squadron was allowed to fly the French flag from the bastion and they remained there until recalled by Dupleix's successor. Until the middle of the 20th century the narrow lane beside the Naaney Bastion was called Faranji-kaloa Goalhi (European Lane) in commemoration of the French contribution to Maldive freedom.

Some of the images on this page are sourced from We thank Jean Druez for providing some of these images and for kindly guiding us with information relating to them.









This web site unequivocally supports
French President Jacques Chirac for applying the ban on the veil. As in the Maldives, the veil is foreign garb in France. The veil is used as a political statement to achieve the objective of altering the character of the French Republic. The French people must resist this barbaric assault on their culture. Franco-Maldive political relations go back to the 18th century to the premiership of the author's grandfather seven times removed.