The Maldives were governed as an independent Islamic Sultanate for most of its history since 1153. In the nineteenth century the British established a protectorate which allowed them to control the foreign and defense policies of the islands but left the rule of the sultans untouched. A constitution was introduced for the first time in 1932 when an attempt was made to limit the absolute powers of the sultans by making the sultanate elective. In 1953 there was an abortive attempt to replace the sultanate by a republican form of government under the short-lived...
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