The dodo bird featured prominently on the front and back of our banknote. The dodo was unique to this island in the Indian ocean,1 1200 miles from the coast of Africa, and apparently first observed by Dutch sailors in 1598.
Moilin Jean Ah-Chuen (1911-1991) is a Chinese Mauritian politician. He was became First Chinese Cabinet Minister on 1967-1976 and First Chinese Member, Legislative Council on 1949. He was decorated by Pope John Paul II and knighted by the Queen Elizabeth II. His father, Chu Wei Chuen, arrived in Mauritius from Meizhou, Guangdong, China on 1887.
The Republic of Maldives brings to us Beauty. Enjoy!
Maldives banknote, front, 5 Rufiyaa
Cowrie shells, illustrated left, were used as an early currency in Maldives. An article on the use of Cowrie shells as money can be found here.
Coconut Palms are the national tree on the Maldives. They grow in abundance throughout the islands. A strange tale of their history is told here.
The ship, the Kalhu’oh’fummi, was used by three brothers, Muhanmed Thakurufaanu and Ali and Hassan, in the liberation of the Maldives in the 16th century.
In 1558 the Portuguese established a small garrison in the Maldives and tried to impose Christianity on the locals. I was still early in the era of colonialization.
The Portuguese rule was described in an Arabic chronicle as ‘‘a time when intolerable enormities were committed by the invading infidels, a time when the sea grew red with Maldivian blood, a time when people were sunk in despair…’’
In 1573, a leader arose, Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al-Azam and his two brothers to organize a revolt.
To bring an end to this, Muhammad Thakurufaanu, left the Maldive Islands for Maliku, an island about 440 miles north of Maldives, and now known as Minicoy. There the three brothers built their ship and returned to Maldives determined to liberate their people.
It is said that he three brothers landed on a different island every night. They fought the Portuguese during the darkness and set sail again into the ocean before daybreak. The Portuguese garrison had fixed a day for the forcible conversion of inhabitants to Christianity. The brothers landed on that island, Male, the night before. During the night they defeated that garrison and gained independence for their country, ending fifteen years of colonial rule.
The date is celebrated now as National Day. In 2018, National Day is occurs on November 9. The date varies with the Islamic calendar.
Fishing scenes illustrate the back of this banknote. As said by former a President, “Fishing is the lifeblood of our nation, it is inborn. From the soil on which we live, to the sea around us, it remains an integral part of our existence. Fishing, and our country and its people, [are] one and shall remain inseparable forever.”
The traditional fishing vessel is the “Dhivehi Odi”. It resembles the dhow, a traditional Arabian sailing ship. It is handcrafted in the islands from coconut timber.
For stories from other Island Nations on this website, click here.