Baa atoll: The African connect of Maldives
Baa Atoll is known as Goidhu in Dhivehi. A 10 km broad channel separates Goidhu atoll from the Southern Maalhosmadhulhu Atoll.
Baa atoll is oval in shape. Although it is a small atoll, it is inhabited and has good possibilities of human life. This atoll comprises of 7 islands, out of which 3 are inhabited.
There is a historical fact attached to this atoll as well. It is believed that a female African slave, who was bought by the king, was kept in this atoll. The African woman was bought by the king when he was on his way to Mecca for the Hajj trip and was released by him later. History reveals that this incidence dates back in the 19th century. It is said that this African woman was called Salaama. The king had built a house and well for her in this atoll. She served the king for a long time at his palace in Male’. She was later released by the king. The king released her to gain a merit in his afterlife.
Such gesture of freeing the slaves before the death is a common practice of the high nobility in the Republic of Maldives. Some families are still found in the Goidhu atoll who have their connection to this African ancestor.
Goidhu atoll is also known as Horsburgh Atoll according to the admiralty chart of the country. The inner lagoon of this atoll is 17 to 20 fathoms deep.