The Maldives is a country whose early history is shrouded in many legends and myths. Archaeological finds have confirmed that the Maldives were inhabited as early as 5,000 years ago. However, the first time that history recorded their existence was 2,500 years ago. According to documents, Prince Vijaya of India and his followers landed on the Maldives in around 500 B.C. The close trading links and cultural ties that the Maldivians kept with neighbouring Sri Lanka and India also influenced their beliefs. For many centuries Buddhism was the islanders’ main religion.