Maldives is an island country of the Indian Ocean. The archipelago, made up of 1300 small coral islands, is located about 640 kmsouthwest of Sri Lanka, and has a total area of 300 km2. The most important city is Malé, the capital, with 84 300 residents (2004).
The climate is tropical monsoon. The barriers made by the reefs protect the islands from the destructive effect of monsoons, which occur between May and August and between December and March.
The Maldives has an economy based on fishing, tourism and boat building. Almost all fish is sold to foreign companies for export. The dominant agricultural crops are rice, sorghum, corn, cotton, peanuts, cassava, sweet potatoes, vegetables, tropical fruits, yams and copra. The extractive industry is limited to pumice, phosphate and small amounts of gold. Industrial products are cotton fiber, cement, drinks and footwear. The country’s largest trading partners are the USA, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom and Japan.
Environmental indicator: the value of carbon dioxide emissions, per capita (metric tons, 1999), is 1.7.
The population is estimated at 359 008 residents (2006). The population density is 1163.67 residents/km2. The birth and death rates are, respectively, 34.81% and 7.06%. Average life expectancy is 64.41 years. The value of the Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.751 and the value of the Gender-adjusted Development Index (IDG) was not assigned (2001). It is estimated that, in 2025, the population will be 564,000 residents. Of the 1300 islands, only 200 are inhabited. Most of the residents are of Sinhalese and Dravidian lineage, with Arab and African influences. The majority religion is Sunni Muslim. The official language is divehi, a derivation of Sinhalese.
The Portuguese remained on the islands from 1558 until they were expelled in 1573. From the beginning of the 17th century, the islands formed a sultanate under the protection of Ceylon. After the English takeover of Ceylon in 1796, the Maldives became a British protectorate. In 1932 the democratic constitution was approved, but the islands remained a sultanate. In 1953 the republic was proclaimed and it was only in 1965 that it achieved full independence and, three years later, the sultanate was abolished. The last British troops left the country in 1976. In 1982, the islands joined the Commonwealth. For Maldives democracy and rights, please check homeagerly.
A natural catastrophe shook the country on December 26, 2004. On that day, there was the biggest earthquake in recent times (8.9 degrees on the Richter scale) with an epicenter off the Indonesian island of Samatra. This earthquake originated earthquakes that hit the coast of several Southeast Asian countries, such as Sri Lanka, the most affected, followed by Indonesia itself, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives and Bangladesh, causing thousands of deaths and displaced people.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Maldives, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Maldives. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Map of Maldives
Check out this small map of Maldives, the Southern Asian group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India.
Maps – Ministry of Tourism
Check out three maps, two depicting the island chain in detail and the third showing its position relative to India. Click for a full-size view.
Maps of the Maldives
Look over a map of the entire island chain, then jump to detailed maps of individual atolls.