Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Maldivia St Helena Revisited.


Another email, this time from Aishath Naaz, a clinical psychologist from the Maldives and a member of the Maldives 1st Human Rights Commission, who is currently living in Manchester where she is studying for a PhD.

Your Blog Reflections on a Journey to St. Helena, I think has caught the attention of every Maldivian who has access to internet. The article written by you on, Thursday, February 14, 2008 Maldivia, St. Helena has caught our attention and it has touched many in a very special way.

We never knew that our people were captured and taken as slaves, and something moved me to tears reading about these 10 people ( From the Jamestown Records) who were then made to work on these plantations. Our history is buried in mystery, may be even the fates of these people but after 256 years we suddenly, through your blog came to know that these people from our country settled elsewhere and lived and died as slaves.Yet, they left behind the name"MALDIVIA' perhaps so that one day ......that is today we would come to know some of our people lived and died...in this spot.
I am very interested in finding even the smallest clue on what happened to these people,...any more details ...any possibility of finding any thing more about what happened to these people.
I would be very grateful if you can give your response.

Aishath has supplied a link to the Dhivehi Observer;
there is also a link to Aishath's blog, which deals with issues of real substance, and makes my efforts seem rather trivial and inconsequential.

I can understand why she and other Maldivians are so touched by this. Surprising perhaps that it has taken so long for them to find out about it. One more indication of the tremendous power of the internet. I just wish I had more information that I could pass on. If anyone can add anything to this story please let me or Aishath know.

6 comments:

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Mohamed said...

does Maldivians still live in Maldivia ???????

John Tyrrell said...

There are no "Maldivians" on St Helena. There may be descendants of the original Maldivians living there. Most "Saints" are of mixed race - few of their ancestors went to St Helena from choice.

Mauloof Ahmed said...

I thank John Tyrell for the information about Maldivians in st.Helena.Is there any place or book i can refer for more information on this subject?

Ibrahim said...

I am a maldivian too. Just today i have gone through the article at www.haveeru.com.mv regarding this subject. I have searched about st. Helena. As other maldivians i am very curious and touched about this subject.I hope that still there will be childrens or grand grand childrens from those seven Maldivians who were taken as slaves. I hope we all the maldivians get information about this subjects soon.

John Tyrrell said...

Aishath tells me that she is very busy trying to write up her PhD. but has received some information which I will pass on:

I received a phone call two days back from a Maldivian and he explained that while in foreign service he had received a letter from a British anthropologist stating that he had come across this story in St. Helena - apparently referring to the British Royal Archives? The archives apparently, give details of the ship and the names of people involved. According to the anthropolgist, the Maldivians lived on St. Helena, plantations but not as slaves? They gradually were integrated into the community. They were known as people from Maldives, but as their skin colour was dark and they mixed with the slaves they were also referred to as slaves.
The person who contacted me said he also saw some photos of the people of St. Helena and some had very distinctive features which reminded him of the Maldives. He also said, these people were most likely from Addu or Huvadhu atoll of Maldives.

Tere are a few aspects of this story (exactly which archives are being referred to) which need clarification. I am hopeful that more information will come our way. Perhaps someone would like to contact the St Helena Independent asking for assistance - you can post a letter online. There is a link on the left hand column of my blog.