Gan Island- Used to be a British Base

Dhivehi Observer is running some old Times articles on the Maldives;

Gan Aft Agley (Feb. 23, 1959)

"It is difficult," pontificated the Times of London two years ago, "to imagine either extreme nationalism or a scrupulous addiction to neutrality arising seriously in the Maldives." Seldom has the Times been more wrong. Unceremoniously kicked out of their sea-air bases by newly independent and neutralist Ceylon, the British decided to set up new bases farther south on the placid island of Gan in the Maldives, a splatter of palm-fringed dots in the Indian Ocean 400 miles from Ceylon. There are only 93,000 Maldivians—nut-brown, peaceable folk who have been under the wing of the...”

Those who served at RAF Gan have their own website- Royal Air Force Gan Remembered.


“FOR sheer and pervasive fervor, the love of nationhood has no equal among contemporary political passions. Independence is the fetish, fad and totem of the times. Everybody who can muster a quorum in a colony wants Freedom Now—and such is the temper of the age that they can usually have it. Roughly one-third of the world, some 1 billion people, have run up their own flags in the great dismantlement of empires since World War II, creating 60 new nations over the face of the earth. In the process they have also created, for themselves and for the world, a congeries of unstable and uneasy...”

Didi-Dee & Didi-Dum (Sep. 14, 1953)
“Most nations take years and shed much blood running the political gamut from monarchy to anarchy. But in the placid, unruffled Maldive Islands, which lie some 400 miles southwest of Ceylon in the Indian Ocean, these things are done more calmly. Last January, after centuries of autocratic rule under a sultanate, the Maldives became the world's youngest republic by simple popular vote (TIME, Jan. 12). There was no trouble whatever; the sultans had long since tired of their confining work, and Amin Didi, the man the Maldivians unanimously elected to serve as both President and Prime Minister in the...”

Newest Republic (Jan. 12, 1953)
“The familiar strains of Auld Lang Syne swelled up from a sprawling cluster of tiny coral islands in the Indian Ocean last week, but the singers were not celebrating the New Year; they were merely singing their own national anthem. After years of autocratic rule under Sultans known as the Golden Feet,* the Maldive (rhymes with small hive) Islands had just become the world's newest republic. Queen Elizabeth herself sent the Moslem islanders a message from another island, wishing them "good luck, fair winds and calm waters." A British cruiser stood by to fire a salute, and thousands of...”

Amen for Amin (Feb. 1, 1954)
“THE MALDIVES Soon after the gentle people of the Maidive Islands abolished their centuries-old sultanate and elected Amin Didi their first President (TIME. Jan. 12, 1953), they began to regret it. Amin Didi was chock-full of reform plans—he wrote a new anthem to the tune of Auld Lang Syne; he abolished purdah and designed a new Mother Hubbard for women to wear; he forced the men to elect women to the legislature; he built an elaborate handicraft shop, despite the fact that rarely more than a half dozen tourists a year visit the isolated island chain (pop. 90,000) southwest of Ceylon. But the...”

Maldives History articles
History of British Empire
The Expelled People of Chagos Islands - evicted to make room for an American military base in Diego Garcia, just south of the Maldives


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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on July 24, 2006 10:30 PM.

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