United Suvadheeb Republic
While the British developed Gan as a base for Royal Air Force, the people of the three southern most atolls revolted against the government of Mr Nasir. They formed a separate government and declared the ‘United Suvadheeb Republic’ in 1959. The British support for them was suspected by the government. The grievances of the people of these three atolls against the government were not entirely unjustified. For centuries, the people of the Huvadhoo, Fua Mulah and Addu Atolls sailed in their wooden vessels odi to Sri Lanka and India and exchanged goods.
They travelled independently to these countries without stopping over at Malé; hence there was no government control over these trade affairs. However, Mr Nasir introduced measures which were unfavourable to the three southern most atolls including the prohibition of direct sail to the neighbouring countries without clearing through Malé. The workers in Addu who could have enjoyed the benefits of direct payment from the British were also disappointed with the arrangement in which they were paid through the government in Malé. They believed that the government controlled the exchange rates to their disadvantage.
The separatist uprising was brought to an end by the government of the Maldives in 1963 in some atolls with brute force. However, the unease and hostility continued. The government of the Maldives negotiated with the British for a diplomatic solution. Maldives demanded more independence than the existing agreements provided for.
In 1960 an agreement was signed reducing the period of British stay in Addu to 30 years. The British finally agreed to give independence to the Maldives and an agreement was signed in 1965. This historic agreement was signed on 25 July 1965 in Sri Lanka. However, the British presence in Addu Atoll continued till 1976.