Below are key dates in the history of the Maldives, a holiday paradise in the Indian Ocean which has been wracked by violence since Mohamed Nasheed, the archipelago's first democratically elected president, resigned on Tuesday.
July 26, 1965: Full independence as a sultanate outside the British Commonwealth. Membership of the United Nations.
1968: Sultan removed after referendum. Republic installed with Ibrahim Nasir as president.
1978: Nasir retires, replaced by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who wins uncontested elections for the next 30 years.
1988: Coup attempt involving Sri Lankan mercenaries foiled with intervention of the Indian military.
1998: Gayoom wins a fifth term in a presidential referendum.
2003: Gayoom is sworn in for a sixth five-year term, after an election marred by street riots following the killing of two prisoners in a police shooting.
2004: State of emergency imposed after pro-democracy demonstrations. Dozens of government opponents are arrested.
The Indian Ocean tsunami, following an earthquake off Indonesia on December 26, leaves dozens dead and widespread destruction.
2005: Parliament votes in June for the installation of a multi-party system. Two months later the authorities have dozens of opponents arrested. The head of the main pro-democratic party, Mohamed Nasheed, is charged with terrorism.
2007: Twelve foreign tourists are injured in a bomb attack in Male.
2008: Gayoom escapes an assassination attempt in January.
In October, opposition leader Nasheed defeats Gayoom in the second round of the country's first multi-party presidential election.
2009: The government holds an underwater cabinet meeting in a bid to focus international attention on rising sea levels that threatens to submerge the low-lying atoll nation.
May 1, 2011: Anti-government protesters, angered by soaring consumer prices, take to the streets of the Maldives for four nights to demand the resignation of Nasheed. The opposition says dozens are injured and arrested.
January 19, 2012: Hundreds of protesters take to the streets in Male, saying Nasheed acted unconstitutionally by ordering the army to arrest a senior judge.
February 7: Nasheed announces his resignation after a mutiny by the police and weeks of demonstrations. Vice President Mohamed Waheed is sworn in as the new head of state.
February 8: Nasheed says his resignation was forced by armed police and army officers in a coup plot hatched with the knowledge of his successor.
Clashes take place in Male and a number of outlying atolls.
February 9: Judge issues warrant for Nasheed's arrest, but foreign diplomatic pressure delays its implementation.