The Republic of Maldives is a country consisting territorially of a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India. 26 atolls with 1,196 coral islands.

ދިވެހިރާއްޖޭގެ ޖުމުހޫރިއްޔާ
Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
Missing image

(Flag) (Coat of Arms)
National motto: n/a
Official language Dhivehi
Capital and largest city Mal
Template:Coor dm
President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 185th
298 km²
 - Total (Year)
 - Density
Ranked 166th
349,106 (2005 est.)
 - Total (Year)
 - GDP/head
Ranked 183rd
$1,250 million
Currency Rufiyah (Rf)
Time zone UTC +5
Independence 26 July 1965
National anthem Gavmii mi ekuverikan matii tibegen kuriime salaam (In National Unity Do We Salute Our Nation)
Internet TLD .mv
Calling Code 960


Main article: History of the Maldives

The early history of the Maldives is obscure. According to Maldivian legend, a Sinhalese prince named Koimale was stranded with his bride--daughter of the king of Sri Lanka--in a Maldivian lagoon and stayed on to rule as the first sultan.

Over the centuries, the islands have been visited and their development influenced by sailors from countries on the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean littorals. Mopla pirates from the Malabar Coast--present-day Kerala state in India--harassed the islands. In the 16th century, the Portuguese subjugated and ruled the islands for 15 years (1558-1573) before being driven away by the warrior-patriot and later Sultan, Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al-Azam.

Although governed as an independent Islamic sultanate for most of its history from 1153 to 1968, Maldives was a British protectorate from 1887 until July 25, 1965. In 1953, there was a brief, abortive attempt at a republican form of government, after which the sultanate was reimposed. The Maldivians followed Buddhism before they converted to Islam and the conversion itself is explained in a controversial mythological story about a demon known as Rannamaari.

Following independence from Britain in 1965, the sultanate continued to operate for another 3 years. On November 11, 1968, it was abolished and replaced by a republic, and the country assumed its present name. Tourism and fishing are being developed on the archipelago.

On 26 December 2004 the Maldives were devastated by a tsunami following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The absence of land mass against which waves could be built up reduced the destructive impact, preventing the waves from reaching much more than 1.2 - 1.5 meters in height [1] ( Despite this, the archipelago's low lying nature (one of the lowest lying countries on Earth) meant that nearly all of the country was swamped. At least 75 people perished, including six foreigners, and all infrastructure was lost on 13 of the inhabited islands and 29 of the resort islands.

The Economy


The Maldivian economy was for many centuries, entirely dependent on fishing and other marine products; therefore fishing has been and still remains the main occupation of the people. This being so, the government gives special priority to the development of the fisheries sector.

The mechanization of the traditional fishing dhoani in 1974 is a major milestone in the development of the fisheries industry and the countrys economy in general. A fish canning plant was installed in the island of Felivaru, in 1977, as a joint venture with a Japanese firm. In 1979, a Fisheries Advisory Board was set up with the mandate of advising the government on policy guidelines for the overall development of the fisheries sector. Manpower development programs were begun in the early Eighties, and fisheries education was incorporated into the school curriculum. Fish aggregating devices and navigational aids were located at various strategic points. Moreover, the opening up of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Maldives for fisheries has further enhanced the growth of the fisheries sector. Today, fisheries contribute over 15 percent of the GDP and engage about 30 percent of the countrys work force. It is also largest foreign exchange earner next to tourism.


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The development of tourism has fostered the overall growth of the countrys economy. It has created direct and indirect employment and income generation opportunities in other related industries. Today, tourism is the countrys biggest foreign exchange earner, contributing to 20% percent of the GDP. With 86 tourist resorts in operation, the year 2000 recorded 467,154 tourist arrivals. Read more on the article Tourism in Maldives

Cottage industries

The development tourism sector gave a major boost to the country’s fledging traditional cottage industries such as mat weaving, lacquer work, handicraft, and coir rope making. New industries that have since emerged include printing, production of PVC pipes, brick making, marine engine repairs, bottling of aerated water, garment production.


Main article: Politics of the Maldives

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, first elected president in 1978 and has retained power since. He has ruled in an authoritarian manner. He survived a coup attempt that was foiled with help of Indian troops in 1988.

Since 2003 the country has experienced occasional antigovernment demonstrations that have called for political reforms.


Main article: Atolls of the Maldives


The Maldives hold the record for being the flattest country in the world, with a maximum altitude of only 2.3 metres. Although there have been reports of rising sea levels threatening the islands, the sea level has actually lowered in recent decades.

A tsunami in the Indian Ocean caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake caused parts of Maldives be covered by sea water and left many people homeless. After the disaster, cartographers are planning to redraw the maps of the islands due to alterations by the tsunami. The people and government are worried that Maldives would be wiped out from the map eventually.

Main article: Geography of the Maldives

See also

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Main article: Demographics of the Maldives


Main article: Culture of the Maldives

Miscellaneous topics

External links

Official Sites

Countries in South Asia

Bangladesh | Bhutan | India | Maldives | Nepal | Pakistan | Sri Lanka


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