The first settlements on these islands were established during the reign of Cheraman Perumal- the last king of Kerala during the fourth century A.D. He converted to Islam at the behest of Arab traders who frequented his capital of Kodungalloor to trade in spices. Without informing his court, Cheraman Perumal undertook a secret pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. When his disappearance was discovered, search parties in sailing boats set out to find him. One of these sailing boats of the Raja of Cannannore was caught in a fierce storm and was wrecked on the coral reefs off the island of Bangaram . The sailors swam ashore to Bangaram and later landed on the nearby island of Agatti. When the weather improved, they returned to the mainland sighting other islands of Lakshadweep on the way. After their return, another party of sailors and soldiers discovered and settled down on the island of Amini.
Islam came to these islands in the 7th century A.D. when St Ubaidullah, a muslim saint and a disciple of Prophet Mohammed was shipwrecked near Lakshadweep. He started propagating Islam in the island of Amini. Though the local population was initially hostile to him, he started gaining followers gradually. He married a local woman, Hameedat Beebi and traveled to the other islands preaching Islam among the islanders. He died on the island of Andrott where he was buried. Today, the tomb of Hazrat Ubaidullah in Andrott is considered as sacred.
Foreigners and Freedom
The Portuguese landed in Amini in the 16th century and traded in the local produce of coir rope for use on board their ships. However, they did not remain in Amini and soon departed to the mainland.
The sovereignty of the islands remained with the Hindu Raja of Chirakkal for several years, though the population was predominantly Muslim. Around the middle of the 16th century, the administrative control of the islands passed on to the Muslim House of Arakkal of Cannannore. The Arakkal rulers were oppressive and the islanders petitioned Tippu Sultan of Mangalore in 1783 to take over control. Tippu Sultan held friendly negotiations with the Beebi of Arakkal and five islands came under his administration. After the defeat of Tippu Sultan in 1799 in the Battle of Srirangapatnam, the islands came under the British East India Company. In 1854, the remaining islands were also taken over by the British.
The British brought in the Lakshadweep Regulation in 1912, which gave limited judicial power to the Amins (Chieftains) of these islands. After Indian independence, Lakshadweep was formed into a Union Territory in 1956 and was renamed from Lacadives Minicoy and Amindivi Islands to Lakshadweep in 1973.