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Maldives (, ; dv, ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ, translit=Dhivehi Raajje IPA: ), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an archipelagic country in the Indian subcontinent of
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
, situated in the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large ...

Indian Ocean
. It lies southwest of
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
and
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
, about from the Asian continent's mainland. The chain of
26 atolls
26 atolls
stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to
Addu Atoll Addu Atoll, also known as Seenu Atoll, is the southernmost atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. ...
in the south (across the
Equator The Equator is a circle of latitude, about in circumference, that divides Earth into the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Southern Hemisphere, Southern hemispheres. It is an imaginary line located at 0 degrees latitude, halfway between the N ...

Equator
). Comprising a
territory A territory is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic names ...

territory
spanning roughly including the sea, land area of all the islands comprises , Maldives is one of the world's most geographically dispersed
sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relatio ...
s the smallest Asian country as well as one of the smallest
Muslim countries The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the ''Islamic community'', which is also known as the Ummah. This consists of all those who adhere to the religion of Islam, or to societies where Islam is practiced. In a modern geo ...

Muslim countries
by land area and, with around 557,751 inhabitants, the 2nd least populous country in Asia.
Malé Malé (, ; dv, މާލެ) is the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Maldives. With a population of 227,486 and an area of , it is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The city is geographically located at ...

Malé
is the capital and the most populated city, traditionally called the "King's Island" where the ancient royal dynasties ruled for its central location. The Maldivian Archipelago is located on the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean; this also forms a
terrestrial ecoregion An ecoregion (ecological region) or ecozone (ecological zone) is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a bioregion A bioregion is an ecology, ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a b ...
, together with the
Chagos Archipelago The Chagos Archipelago () or Chagos Islands (formerly the Bassas de Chagas, and later the Oil Islands) are a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(lef ...
and
Lakshadweep Lakshadweep (), also known as Laccadives (), is a union territory #REDIRECT Union territory#REDIRECT Union territory A union territory ( hi, script=latn, kendraśāsit pradeś, , centrally administered province) is a type of administrative d ...

Lakshadweep
. With an average ground-level elevation of above sea level, and a highest natural point of only , it is the world's lowest-lying country. In the 12th century
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
reached the Maldivian Archipelago, which was consolidated as a
sultanate This article includes a list of successive Muslim state An Islamic state is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associati ...
, developing strong commercial and cultural ties with
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
and
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
. From the mid-16th century, the region came under the increasing influence of European , with the Maldives becoming a British
protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is a dependent territory A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometimes referred as an external territory) is a territory that does not ...
in 1887.
Independence Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or Sovereign state, state in which residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory. The opposite of independe ...

Independence
from the United Kingdom came in 1965, and a
presidential republic A presidential system, or single executive system, is a form of government in which a head of government The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, ...
was established in 1968 with an elected
People's Majlis The People's Majlis ( dv, ރައްޔިތުންގެ މަޖިލިސް; ''Rayyithunge Majilis'') is the unicameral legislature, legislative body of the Maldives. The Majlis has the authority to enact, amend and revise laws, except the Constitution o ...
. The ensuing decades have seen political instability, efforts at democratic reform, and environmental challenges posed by
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...

climate change
. Maldives became a founding member of the
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) or international organization is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (ref ...
(SAARC). It is also a member of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
, the
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 54 member states, almost all of which are former territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the ...

Commonwealth of Nations
, the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC; ar, منظمة التعاون الإسلامي, Munaẓẓama at-Taʿāwun al-ʾIslāmiyy; french: Organisation de la coopération islamique), formerly the Organisation of the Islamic Conference ...
, and the
Non-Aligned Movement The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world Image:Imf-advanced-un-least-developed-2008.svg, 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the International Monetary Fund, IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A deve ...
. The World Bank classifies the Maldives as having an upper-
middle income The middle class is a Social class, class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy. Its usage has often been vague whether defined in terms of job, occupation, income, education or social status. The definition by any author is often chosen f ...
economy.
Fishing Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct related groups. Around 99% of living fish species are ...
has historically been the dominant economic activity, and remains the largest sector by far, followed by the rapidly growing
tourism Tourism is travel Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical location In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of th ...
industry. The Maldives rates "high" on the
Human Development Index The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, its current age, and ot ...
, with ''
per capita ''Per capita'' is a Latin phrase literally meaning "by heads" or "for each head", and idiomatically used to mean "per person". The term is used in a wide variety of social sciences Social science is the branch The branches and leaves o ...
'' income significantly higher than other SAARC nations. Maldives was a member of the
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
from July 1982 until withdrawing from the organisation in October 2016 in protest of allegations by other nations of its
human rights Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
abuses and failing democracy. The Maldives rejoined the Commonwealth on 1 February 2020 after showing evidence of functioning democratic processes and popular support.


Toponymy

According to legends, the first settlers of Maldives were people known as Dheyvis. The first Kingdom of the Maldives was known as Dheeva Maari. In the 3rd century BC during the visit of emissaries sent by Emperor Asoka, Maldives was known as Dheeva Mahal. During c. 1100 – 1166, Maldives was also referred to as Diva Kudha and the Laccadive archipelago which was a part of Maldives was then referred to as Diva Khanbar by the scholar and polymath
al-Biruni Abu Rayhan al-Biruni (973 – after 1050) was an Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a co ...
(973–1048). The name ''Maldives'' may also derive from
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
' (garland) and ' (island), or ''Maala Divaina'' ("Necklace Islands") in
Sinhala Sinhala may refer to: * Something of or related to the Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka * Sinhalese people * Sinhala language, one of the three official languages used in Sri Lanka * Sinhala script, a writing system for the Sinhala language ** Sinhala ...
. The Maldivian people are called ''Dhivehin''. The word ''Dheeb/Deeb'' (archaic ''Dhivehi'', related to
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
, ') means "island", and ''Dhives'' (''Dhivehin'') means "islanders" (i.e., Maldivians). The ancient
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
n chronicle '' Mahawamsa'' refers to an island called ''Mahiladiva'' ("Island of Women", महिलादिभ) in
Pali Pali () is a Middle Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan invasion theory (disambiguat ...
, which is probably a mistranslation of the same Sanskrit word meaning "
garland A garland is a decorative braid, knot or wreath of flowers, leaves, or other material. Garlands can be worn on the head or around the neck, hung on an inanimate object, or laid in a place of cultural or religious importance. garlands on a Christma ...

garland
". Jan Hogendorn, Grossman Professor of Economics at
Colby College Colby College is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two decades ...
, theorized that the name Maldives derives from the Sanskrit ' (), meaning "garland of islands".Hogendorn, Jan and Johnson Marion (1986). ''The Shell Money of the Slave Trade''. African Studies Series 49,
Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (CUP) is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge , mottoeng = Literal: From here, light and sacred draughts. Non literal: From this place, we gain enlightenment and precious knowled ...
,
Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a university city and the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' ...

Cambridge
, pp. 20–22
In Tamil, "Garland of Islands" can be translated as ' (). In
Malayalam Malayalam (; , ) is a Dravidian language Dravidian languages (or sometimes Dravidic languages) are a family of languages In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recogni ...

Malayalam
, "Garland of Islands" can be translated as ' (). In Kannada, "Garland of Islands" can be translated as ' (). None of these names are mentioned in any literature, but classical Sanskrit texts dating back to the Vedic period mention the "Hundred Thousand Islands" ('), a generic name which would include not only the Maldives, but also the
Laccadives Lakshadweep () is a group of islands in the Arabian sea The Arabian Sea ( ar, بحر العرب ''Bahr al-Arab'') is a region of the northern Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's oceanic divisions, cover ...
,
Aminidivi The Aminidivi Islands, are one of the three island subgroups in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India. It is the northern group of the Lakshadweep, separated from the Laccadive Islands subgroup roughly by the 11th parallel north. The total la ...
Islands,
Minicoy Minicoy, locally known as Maliku (), is an island in Lakshadweep, India. Along with Viringili, it is on ''Maliku atoll'', the southernmost atoll of Lakshadweep archipelago. Administratively, it is a census town in the Indian States and territori ...
, and the Chagos island groups. Medieval Arab travellers such as
Ibn Battuta Ibn Battuta (; 24 February 13041368/1369); fully: ; Arabic: was a Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an e ...
called the islands ' () from the
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
word ' ("palace"), which must be how the
Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco ) , ...
traveller interpreted the local name, having been through Muslim North India, where Perso-Arabic words were introduced to the local vocabulary. This is the name currently inscribed on the scroll in the . The classical Persian/Arabic name for Maldives is '. The Dutch referred to the islands as the ' (), while the British
anglicised Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modifying foreign words, names, and phrases to make them easier to spell, pronounce, or understand in English English usually ...
the local name for the islands first to the "Maldive Islands" and later to "Maldives". Garcia da Orta, in a conversational book first published in 1563, writes as follows: "I must tell you that I have heard it said that the natives do not call it Maldiva but Nalediva. In the Malabar language ''nale'' means four and ''diva'' island. So that in that language the word signifies "four islands," while we, corrupting the name, call it Maldiva."


History


Geological history

The Maldives were believed to have been formed around 68 million years ago as a hotspot which spawned the
Deccan Traps The Deccan Traps is a large igneous province Image:Flood_Basalt_Map.jpg, 300px, Only a few of the largest large igneous provinces appear (coloured dark purple) on this geological map, which depicts crustal geologic provinces as seen in seism ...
in India. As long as 10,000 years ago,
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient c ...

coral reef
s started to take growth on Pleistocene foundations.


Ancient history and settlement

The Maldives is well over 2,500 years old according to legends of the southern atolls. Early settlers in the Maldives were probably Gujaratis, who reached and settled Sri Lanka about 500 B.C. Evidence of cultural influence from North India can be deduced from the methods of boat-building and silver punch-marked coins According to the book "Kitāb fi āthār Mīdhu al-qādimah (كتاب في آثار ميذو القديمة) ("On the Ancient Ruins of Meedhoo")" written in the 17th century in Arabic by Allama Ahmed Shihabuddine (Allama Shihab al-Din) of Meedhoo in
Addu Atoll Addu Atoll, also known as Seenu Atoll, is the southernmost atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. ...
, the first settlers of the Maldives were people known as Dheyvis. They came from the
Kalibanga Kalibangān is a town located at on the left or southern banks of the Ghaggar (Ghaggar-Hakra River) in Tehsil Pilibangān, between Suratgarh and Hanumangarh in Hanumangarh District, Rajasthan, India 205 km. from Bikaner. It is also identifie ...

Kalibanga
in India. The time of their arrival is unknown but it was before Emperor
Asoka Ashoka (; Brāhmi: 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓, ''Asoka'', IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit ...

Asoka
's kingdom in 269–232 BC. Shihabuddine's story tallies remarkably well with the recorded history of South Asia and that of the copperplate document of Maldives known as Loamaafaanu. The ''Maapanansa'', the copper plates on which was recorded the history of the first Kings of Maldives from the Solar Dynasty, were lost quite early on. A 4th-century notice written by
Ammianus Marcellinus Ammianus Marcellinus (born , died 400) was a Roman soldier This is a list of Roman army units and bureaucrats. *''Accensus'' – Light infantry men in the armies of the early Roman Republic, made up of the poorest men of the army. *''Actuarius' ...
(362 AD) speaks of gifts sent to the Roman emperor Julian by a deputation from the nation of Divi. The name Divi is very similar to Dheyvi who were the first settlers of Maldives. The ancient history of Maldives is told in copperplates, ancient scripts carved on coral artifacts, traditions, language and different ethnicities of Maldivians. The first Maldivians did not leave any archaeological artifacts. Their buildings were probably built of wood, palm fronds, and other perishable materials, which would have quickly decayed in the salt and wind of the tropical climate. Moreover, chiefs or headmen did not reside in elaborate stone palaces, nor did their religion require the construction of large temples or compounds. Comparative studies of Maldivian oral, linguistic, and cultural traditions confirm that the first settlers were people from the southern shores of the neighbouring Indian subcontinent,Xavier Romero-Frias, ''The Maldive Islanders, A Study of the Popular Culture of an Ancient Ocean Kingdom'' including the
Giraavaru people Tradition claims that the Giraavaru people were the ancient owners and rulers of the Maldives. The Giraavaru people lived isolated in Giraavaru (Kaafu Atoll), Giraavaru Island. They were relocated due to erosion on their island to other parts of th ...
, mentioned in ancient legends and local folklore about the establishment of the capital and kingly rule in
Malé Malé (, ; dv, މާލެ) is the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Maldives. With a population of 227,486 and an area of , it is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The city is geographically located at ...

Malé
. A strong underlying layer of
Dravidian Dravidian, Dravidan, or Dravida may refer to: Language and culture *Dravidian languages, a family of languages spoken mainly in South India and northeastern Sri Lanka *Proto-Dravidian language, a model of the common ancestor of the Dravidian langu ...
and
North Indian North India is a loosely defined region consisting of the northern part of India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest count ...
cultures survives in Maldivian society, with a clear substratum in the language, which also appears in place names, kinship terms, poetry, dance, and religious beliefs. The North Indian system was brought by the original
Sinhalese Sinhala may refer to: * Something of or related to the Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka * Sinhalese people * Sinhala language, one of the three official languages used in Sri Lanka * Sinhala script, a writing system for the Sinhala language ** Sinhala ...
from
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
. Malabar and
Pandya The Pandya dynasty, also known as the Pandyas of Madurai, was a dynasty of south India South India is a region consisting of the southern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country i ...
seafaring culture led to the settlement of the Islands by
Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysians, Tamil people native to Malaysia * Tamil language, a Dravidian languages, ...
and Malabar seafarers. The Maldive Islands were mentioned in Ancient Sangam Tamil Literature as "Munneer Pazhantheevam" or "Older Islands of Three Seas".


Buddhist period

Despite being just mentioned briefly in most history books, the 1,400-year-long Buddhist period has a foundational importance in the history of the Maldives. It was during this period that the culture of the Maldives both developed and flourished, a culture that survives today. The Maldivian
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...
, early Maldive
scripts Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developi ...
, architecture, ruling institutions, customs, and manners of the Maldivians originated at the time when the Maldives were a Buddhist kingdom. Buddhism probably spread to the Maldives in the 3rd century BC at the time of Emperor
Ashoka Ashoka (; Brāhmi: 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓, ''Asoka'', IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit ...

Ashoka
's expansion and became the dominant religion of the people of the Maldives until the 12th century AD. The ancient Maldivian Kings promoted
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
, and the first Maldive writings and artistic achievements, in the form of highly developed sculpture and architecture, originate from that period. Nearly all archaeological remains in the Maldives are from Buddhist
stupa A stupa ( sa, स्तूप, lit=heap, ) is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics.(such as ''śarīra'' – typically the remains of Bhikkhu, Buddhist monks or Bhikkhuni, nuns) that is used as a place of meditation. A rel ...

stupa
s and monasteries, and all artifacts found to date display characteristic Buddhist iconography. Buddhist (and Hindu) temples were
Mandala A mandala ( sa, मण्डल, maṇḍala, circle, ) is a geometric configuration of symbols. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for e ...

Mandala
shaped. They are oriented according to the four cardinal points with the main gate facing east. Local historian Hassan Ahmed Maniku counted as many as 59 islands with Buddhist archaeological sites in a provisional list he published in 1990.


Islamic period

The importance of the Arabs as traders in the Indian Ocean by the 12th century may partly explain why the last Buddhist king of Maldives, Dhovemi, converted to
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
in the year 1153 (or 1193). Adopting the Muslim title of Sultan Muhammad al-Adil, he initiated a series of six Islamic dynasties that lasted until 1932 when the sultanate became elective. The formal title of the sultan up to 1965 was, ''Sultan of Land and Sea, Lord of the twelve-thousand islands and Sultan of the Maldives'' which came with the style ''
Highness Highness (abbreviation HH, oral address Your Highness) is a formal style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a buil ...
''.
Somali Somali refers to an East African tribe (ethnic group) native to Somalia Somalia,; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, D ...

Somali
Muslim Abu al-Barakat Yusuf al-Barbari, also known as Aw Barkhadle, is traditionally credited for this conversion. According to the story told to
Ibn Battutah Ibn Battuta (; 24 February 13041368/1369); fully: ; Arabic: was a Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an e ...
, a mosque was built with the inscription: 'The Sultan Ahmad Shanurazah accepted Islam at the hand of Abu al-Barakat Yusuf al-Barbari.' Some scholars have suggested the possibility of Ibn Battuta misreading Maldive texts, and having a bias towards the North African, Maghrebi narrative of this Shaykh, instead of the East African origins account that was known as well at the time. Even when Ibn Battuta visited the islands, the governor of the island at that time was Abd Aziz Al Mogadishawi, a
Somali Somali refers to an East African tribe (ethnic group) native to Somalia Somalia,; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, D ...

Somali
Scholars have posited another scenario where Abu al-Barakat Yusuf al-Barbari might have been a native of
Barbera Barbera is a red Italian wine grape variety that, as of 2000, was the third most-planted red grape variety in Italy (after Sangiovese and Montepulciano (grape), Montepulciano). It produces good yields (wine), yields and is known for deep color, fu ...

Barbera
, a significant trading port on the northwestern coast of
Somalia Somalia,, Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitutio ...

Somalia
. ''Barbara'' or ''Barbaroi'' (Berbers), as the ancestors of the
Somalis The Somalis ( so, Soomaalida 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒆𐒖, ar, صوماليون) are an Cushitic peoples, East Cushitic ethnic group native to the Horn of Africa who share a common ancestry, culture and history. The Somali language is the ...
were referred to by medieval
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...
and ancient
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...

Greek
geographers, respectively.F.R.C. Bagley et al., ''The Last Great Muslim Empires'' (Brill: 1997), p. 174.Mohamed Diriye Abdullahi, ''Culture and Customs of Somalia'', (Greenwood Press: 2001), p. 13. This is also seen when Ibn Battuta visited
Mogadishu Mogadishu (, also ; so, Muqdisho or Xamar ; ar, مقديشو, Muqadīshū ; it, Mogadiscio ), locally known as Xamar or Hamar, is the capital city and most populous city The United Nations uses three definitions for what constitutes a city ...

Mogadishu
, he mentions that the Sultan at that time, "Abu Bakr ibn Shaikh Omar", was a Berber (Somali). According to scholars, Abu al-Barakat Yusuf al-Barbari was
Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn ( ar, يوسف بن أحمد الكونين) (b. 12th century), popularly known as Aw Barkhadle ("Blessed Father"),Abdullahi, p.13 Yusuf Al Kownayn, Yusuf Al Bagdhadi, and Shaykh Abu Barakat al Barbari ("Blessed Father ...
, a famous native
Somali Somali refers to an East African tribe (ethnic group) native to Somalia Somalia,; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, D ...

Somali
scholar known for establishing the
Walashma dynastyThe Walashma dynasty was a medieval Muslim Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam, a Monotheism, monotheistic Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic religion. The derivation of "Muslim" is from an Arabic language, Arabic word meaning "submi ...
of the
Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula of East Africa.Robert Stock, ''Africa South of the Sahara, Second Edition: A Geographical Interpretation'', (The Guilford Press; 2004), p. 26 Located on the ea ...

Horn of Africa
. After his conversion of the population of Dogor (now known as Aw Barkhadle), a town in Somalia, he is also credited to have been responsible for spreading Islam in the Maldivian islands, establishing the Hukuru Miskiy, and converting the Maldivian population to Islam.
Ibn Battuta Ibn Battuta (; 24 February 13041368/1369); fully: ; Arabic: was a Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an e ...
states the Maldivian king was converted by Abu al-Barakat Yusuf al-Barbari (Blessed Father of Somalia). Others have it he may have been from the Persian town of
Tabriz Tabriz ( fa, تبریز ; ) is a city in northwestern Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the w ...

Tabriz
. The first reference to an Iranian origin dates to an 18th-century Persian text. His venerated tomb now stands on the grounds of Medhu Ziyaaraiy, across the street from the Friday Mosque, or Hukuru Miskiy, in Malé. Built in 1656, this is the oldest mosque in Maldives. Following the Islamic concept that before Islam there was the time of Jahiliya (ignorance), in the history books used by Maldivians the introduction of Islam at the end of the 12th century is considered the cornerstone of the country's history. Nonetheless, the cultural influence of Buddhism remains, a reality directly experienced by Ibn Battuta during his nine months there sometime between 1341 and 1345, serving as a chief judge and marrying into the royal family of Omar I of the Maldives, Omar I. For he became embroiled in local politics and left when his strict judgments in the laissez-faire island kingdom began to chafe with its rulers. In particular, he was dismayed at the local women going about with no clothing above the waist—a violation of Middle Eastern Islamic standards of modesty—and the locals taking no notice when he complained. Compared to the other areas of South Asia, the conversion of the Maldives to Islam happened relatively late. Arab traders had converted populations in the Malabar Coast since the 7th century, and Muhammad bin Qasim, Muhammad Bin Qāsim had converted large swathes of Sindh to Islam at about the same time. The Maldives remained a Buddhist kingdom for another 500 years after the conversion of Malabar Coast and Sindh—perhaps as the southwesternmost Buddhist country. Arabic became the prime language of administration (instead of Persian and Urdu), and the Maliki school of jurisprudence was introduced, both hinting at direct contacts with the core of the Arab world. Middle Eastern seafarers had just begun to take over the Indian Ocean trade routes in the 10th century and found Maldives to be an important link in those routes as the first landfall for traders from Basra sailing to Southeast Asia. Trade involved mainly cowrie shells—widely used as a form of currency throughout Asia and parts of the East African coast—and coir fiber. The Bengal Sultanate, where cowrie shells were used as legal tender, was one of the principal trading partners of the Maldives. The Bengal–Maldives cowry shell trade was the largest shell currency trade network in history. The other essential product of the Maldives was coir, the fibre of the dried coconut husk, resistant to saltwater. It stitched together and rigged the dhows that plied the Indian Ocean. Maldivian coir was exported to Sindh, China, Yemen, and the Persian Gulf.


Colonial period

In 1558 the Portuguese established a small garrison with a ''Viador'' (''Viyazoru''), or overseer of a factory (trading post) in the Maldives, which they administered from their main colony in Goa. Their attempts to impose Christianity provoked a local revolt led by Muhammad Thakurufaanu al-Auzam, Muhammad Thakurufaanu al-A'uẓam and his two brothers, that fifteen years later drove the Portuguese out of Maldives. This event is now commemorated as National Day. In the mid-17th century, the Dutch, who had replaced the Portuguese as the dominant power in Ceylon, established hegemony over Maldivian affairs without involving themselves directly in local matters, which were governed according to centuries-old Islamic customs. The British expelled the Dutch from Ceylon in 1796 and included Maldives as a British Protectorate. The status of Maldives as a British protectorate was officially recorded in an 1887 agreement in which the sultan Muhammad Mueenuddeen II accepted British influence over Maldivian external relations and defence while retaining home rule, which continued to be regulated by Muslim traditional institutions in exchange for an Maldivian annual tribute, annual tribute. The status of the islands was akin to other British protectorates in the Indian Ocean region, including Zanzibar and the Trucial States. In the British period, the Sultan's powers were taken over by the Chief Minister, much to the chagrin of the British Governor-General who continued to deal with the ineffectual Sultan. Consequently, Britain encouraged the development of a constitutional monarchy, and the first Constitution was proclaimed in 1932. However, the new arrangements favoured neither the aging Sultan nor the wily Chief Minister, but rather a young crop of British-educated reformists. As a result, angry mobs were instigated against the Constitution which was publicly torn up. Maldives remained a British crown protectorate until 1953 when the sultanate was suspended and the First Republic was declared under the short-lived presidency of Muhammad Amin Didi. While serving as prime minister during the 1940s, Didi nationalized the fish export industry. As president, he is remembered as a reformer of the education system and a promoter of women's rights. Conservatives in Malé eventually ousted his government, and during a riot over food shortages, Didi was beaten by a mob and died on a nearby island. Beginning in the 1950s, the political history in Maldives was largely influenced by the British military presence in the islands. In 1954 the restoration of the sultanate perpetuated the rule of the past. Two years later, the United Kingdom obtained permission to reestablish its wartime RAF Gan airfield in the southernmost
Addu Atoll Addu Atoll, also known as Seenu Atoll, is the southernmost atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. ...
, employing hundreds of locals. In 1957, however, the new prime minister, Ibrahim Nasir, called for a review of the agreement. Nasir was challenged in 1959 by a local secessionist movement in the three southernmost atolls that benefited economically from the British presence on Gan (Seenu Atoll), Gan. This group cut ties with the Maldives government and formed an independent state, the United Suvadive Republic with Abdullah Afif as president and Hithadhoo (Seenu Atoll), Hithadhoo as capital. One year later the Suvadive republic was scrapped after Nasir sent gunboats from Malé with government police, and Abdulla Afif went into exile. Meanwhile, in 1960 the Maldives had allowed the United Kingdom to continue to use both the RAF Gan, Gan and the Hithadhoo facilities for a thirty-year period, with the payment of £750,000 over the period of 1960 to 1965 for the purpose of Maldives' economic development. The base was closed in 1976 as part of the larger British withdrawal of permanently-stationed forces 'East of Suez'.


Independence and republic

When the British became increasingly unable to continue their colonial hold on Asia and were losing their colonies to the indigenous populations who wanted freedom, on 26 July 1965 an agreement was signed on behalf of the Sultan by Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyri Kilegefan, Prime Minister, and on behalf of the British government by Sir Michael Walker, British Ambassador-designate to the Maldive Islands, which formally ended the British authority on the defence and external affairs of the Maldives. The islands thus achieved independence, with the ceremony taking place at the British High Commissioner's Residence in Colombo. After this, the sultanate continued for another three years under Muhammad Fareed Didi, Sir Muhammad Fareed Didi, who declared himself King upon independence. On 15 November 1967, a vote was taken in parliament to decide whether the Maldives should continue as a constitutional monarchy or become a republic. Of the 44 members of parliament, 40 voted in favour of a republic. On 15 March 1968, a national referendum was held on the question, and 93.34% of those taking part voted in favour of establishing a republic. The republic was declared on 11 November 1968, thus ending the 853-year-old monarchy, which was replaced by a republic under the presidency of Ibrahim Nasir. As the King had held little real power, this was seen as a cosmetic change and required few alterations in the structures of government. Tourism in the Maldives, Tourism began to be developed on the archipelago by the beginning of the 1970s. The first resort in the Maldives was Kurumba Maldives which welcomed the first guests on 3 October 1972. The first accurate census was held in December 1977 and showed 142,832 people living in the Maldives. Political infighting during the 1970s between Nasir's faction and other political figures led to the 1975 arrest and exile of elected prime minister Ahmed Zaki (politician), Ahmed Zaki to a remote atoll. Economic decline followed the closure of the Gan International Airport, British airfield at Gan and the collapse of the market for dried fish, an important export. With support for his administration faltering, Nasir fled to Singapore in 1978, with millions of dollars from the treasury. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom began his 30-year role as president in 1978, winning six consecutive elections without opposition. His election was seen as ushering in a period of political stability and economic development in view of Maumoon's priority to develop the poorer islands. Tourism flourished and increased foreign contact spurred development. However, Maumoon's rule was controversial, with some critics saying Maumoon was an autocrat who quelled dissent by limiting freedoms and political favouritism.BAT A series of coup attempts (in 1980, 1983, and 1988) by Nasir supporters and business interests tried to topple the government without success. While the first two attempts met with little success, the 1988 coup attempt involved a roughly 80 strong mercenary force of the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam, PLOTE who seized the airport and caused Maumoon to flee from house to house until the intervention of 1,600 Indian Armed Forces, Indian troops airlifted into
Malé Malé (, ; dv, މާލެ) is the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Maldives. With a population of 227,486 and an area of , it is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The city is geographically located at ...

Malé
restored order. The November 1988 coup d'état was headed by Muhammadu Ibrahim Lutfee, a businessman. On the night of 3 November 1988, the Indian Air Force airlifted a Parachute Regiment (India)#Operation Cactus, parachute battalion group from Agra and flew them over to the Maldives. The Indian paratroopers landed at Hulhulé Island, Hulhulé and secured the airfield and restored the government rule at Malé within hours. The brief operation, labelled ''Operation Cactus'', also involved the Indian Navy.


Twenty-first century

The Effect of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake on the Maldives, Maldives were devastated by a tsunami on 26 December 2004, following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, Indian Ocean earthquake. Only nine islands were reported to have escaped any flooding, while fifty-seven islands faced serious damage to critical infrastructure, fourteen islands had to be totally evacuated, and six islands were destroyed. A further twenty-one resort islands were forced to close because of tsunami damage. The total damage was estimated at more than US$400 million, or some 62% of the GDP. 102 Maldivians and 6 foreigners reportedly died in the tsunami. The destructive impact of the waves on the low-lying islands was mitigated by the fact there was no continental shelf or land mass upon which the waves could gain height. The tallest waves were reported to be high. During the later part of Maumoon's rule, independent political movements emerged in Maldives, which challenged the then-ruling Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (Maldivian People's Party, MPP) and demanded democratic reform. The dissident journalist and activist Mohamed Nasheed founded the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in 2003 and pressured Maumoon into allowing gradual political reforms.Autocracy and Back Again: The Ordeal of the Maldives
. ''Brown Political Review''. Retrieved on 10 May 2016.
In 2008 a new constitution was approved and the Maldivian presidential election, 2008, first direct presidential elections occurred, which were won by Nasheed in the second round. His administration faced many challenges, including the huge debt left by the previous government, the economic downturn following the 2004 tsunami, overspending by means of overprinting of local currency (the rufiyaa), unemployment, corruption, and increasing drug use. Taxation on goods was imposed for the first time in the country, and import duties were reduced in many goods and services. Social welfare benefits were given to those aged 65 years or older, single parents, and those with special needs. Social and 2011–12 Maldives political crisis, political unrest grew in late 2011, following opposition campaigns in the name of protecting
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
. Nasheed controversially resigned from office after large number of police and army mutinied in February 2012. Nasheed's vice president, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, was sworn in as president. Nasheed was later arrested, convicted of terrorism, and sentenced to 13 years. The trial was widely seen as flawed and political. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called for Nasheed's immediate release. The Maldivian presidential election, 2013, elections in late 2013 were highly contested. Former president Nasheed won the most votes in the first round, but the Supreme Court annulled it despite the positive assessment of international election observers. In the re-run vote Abdulla Yameen, half-brother of the former president Maumoon, assumed the presidency. Yameen introduced increased engagement with China, and promoted a policy of connecting Islam with anti-Western rhetoric. Yameen survived an assassination attempt in late 2015. Vice president Ahmed Adeeb was later arrested together with 17 supporters for "public order offences" and the government instituted a broader crackdown against political dissent. A state of emergency was later declared ahead of a planned anti-government rally, and the people's Majlis accelerated the removal of Adeeb. 2018 Maldivian presidential election, In the 2018 elections, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won the most votes, and was sworn in as the Maldives new president in November 2018. He promised to fight against widespread corruption and investigate the human rights abuses of the previous regime. There was also a change in foreign relations. His predecessor Abdulla Yameen was politically very close to China with some "anti-India" attitude, but president Solih reaffirmed the previous "India-First Policy", and Maldives and India strengthened their close relationship. Adeeb was freed by courts in Male in July 2019 after his conviction on charges of terrorism and corruption was overruled, but was placed under a travel ban after the state prosecutor appealed the order in a corruption and money laundering case. Adeeb escaped in a tugboat to seek asylum in India. It is understood that the Indian Coast Guard escorted the tugboat to the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and he was then “transferred” to a Maldivian Coast Guard ship, where officials took him into custody. Former president Abdulla Yameen was sentenced to five years in prison in November 2019 for money laundering. The High Court upheld the jail sentence in January 2021.


Geography

The Maldives consists of 1,192 coral islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls, that stretch along a length of north to south, east to west, spread over roughly , of which only is dry land, making this one of the world's most dispersed countries. It lies between latitudes 1st parallel south, 1°S and 8th parallel north, 8°N, and longitudes 72nd meridian east, 72° and 74th meridian east, 74°E. The atolls are composed of live
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient c ...

coral reef
s and sand bars, situated atop a submarine ridge long that rises abruptly from the depths of the Indian Ocean and runs north to south. Only near the southern end of this natural coral barricade do two open passages permit safe ship navigation from one side of the Indian Ocean to the other through the territorial waters of Maldives. For administrative purposes, the Maldivian government organised these atolls into 21 Administrative divisions of the Maldives, administrative divisions. The largest island of Maldives is that of Gan (Laamu Atoll), Gan, which belongs to Laamu Atoll or Hahdhummathi Maldives. In
Addu Atoll Addu Atoll, also known as Seenu Atoll, is the southernmost atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. ...
, the westernmost islands are connected by roads over the reef (collectively called Link Road) and the total length of the road is . Maldives is the lowest country in the world, with maximum and average natural ground levels of only and above sea level, respectively. In areas where construction exists, however, this has been increased to several metres. More than 80 per cent of the country's land is composed of coral islands which rise less than one metre above sea level. As a result, the Maldives are at high risk of being submerged due to Sea level rise, rising sea levels. The IPCC, UN's environmental panel has warned that, at current rates, sea-level rise would be high enough to make the Maldives uninhabitable by 2100.


Climate

The Maldives has a tropical monsoon climate (Am) under the Köppen climate classification, which is affected by the large landmass of South Asia to the north. Because the Maldives has the lowest elevation of any country in the world, the temperature is constantly hot and often humid. The presence of this landmass causes differential heating of land and water. These factors set off a rush of moisture-rich air from the Indian Ocean over South Asia, resulting in the southwest monsoon. Two seasons dominate Maldives' weather: the dry season associated with the winter northeastern monsoon and the rainy season associated with the southwest monsoon which brings strong winds and storms. The shift from the dry northeast monsoon to the moist southwest monsoon occurs during April and May. During this period, the southwest winds contribute to the formation of the southwest monsoon, which reaches Maldives at the beginning of June and lasts until the end of November. However, the weather patterns of Maldives do not always conform to the monsoon patterns of South Asia. The annual rainfall averages in the north and in the south. The monsoonal influence is greater in the north of the Maldives than in the south, more influenced by the Equatorial Counter Current, equatorial currents. The average high temperature is 31.5 degrees Celsius and the average low temperature is 26.4 degrees Celsius.


Sea level rise

In 1988, the authorities claimed that sea rise would "completely cover this Indian Ocean nation of 1196 small islands with in the next 30 years." The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report predicted the upper limit of the sea level rises will be by 2100, which means that most of the republic's 200 inhabited islands may need to be abandoned. According to researchers from the University of Southampton, the Maldives are the third most endangered island nation due to flooding from climate change as a percentage of population. Former president Mohamed Nasheed said in 2012 that "If carbon emissions continue at the rate they are climbing today, my country will be under water in seven years." He has called for more climate change mitigation action while on the American television shows ''The Daily Show'' and the ''Late Show with David Letterman'', and hosted "the world's first underwater cabinet meeting" in 2009 to raise awareness of the threats posed by climate change. Concerns over sea level rise have also been expressed by Nasheed's predecessor, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. In 2008, Nasheed announced plans to look into purchasing new land in India, Sri Lanka, and Australia because of his concerns about global warming, and the possibility of much of the islands being inundated with water from rising sea levels. The purchase of land will be made from a fund generated by tourism. The president explained his intentions: "We do not want to leave the Maldives, but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades". By 2020, Maldives plans to eliminate or offset all of its greenhouse gas emissions. At the 2009 International Climate Talks, Nasheed explained that:
For us swearing off fossil fuels is not only the right thing to do, but it is also in our economic self-interest... Pioneering countries will free themselves from the unpredictable price of foreign oil; they will capitalise on the new green economy of the future, and they will enhance their moral standing giving them greater political influence on the world stage.
In 2020, a three-year study at the University of Plymouth found that as tides move sediment to create higher elevation, the islands, and also Tuvalu and Kiribati, may rise instead of sink.


Environment

Environmental issues other than sea level rise include bad waste disposal and beach theft. Although the Maldives are kept relatively pristine and little litter can be found on the islands, no good Waste management, waste disposal sites exist. Most trash from Malé and other resorts is simply dumped at the Thilafushi landfill. List of Protected Areas of Maldives, 31 protected areas are administered by the Ministry of Environment and Energy and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the Maldives.


Marine ecosystem

The Maldives have a range of different habitats including deep sea, shallow coast, and reef ecosystems, fringing mangroves, wetlands and dry land. There are 187 species of coral forming the coral reefs. This area of the Indian Ocean, alone, houses 1,100 species of fish, 5 species of sea turtle, 21 species of whale and dolphin, 400 species of mollusc, and 83 species of echinoderms. The area is also populated by a number of crustacean species: 120 copepods, 15 amphipods, as well as more than 145 crab and 48 shrimp species. Among the many marine families represented are pufferfish, Caesionidae, fusiliers, Carangidae, jackfish, lionfish, oriental sweetlips, reef sharks, groupers, eels, Lutjanidae, snappers, bannerfish, Ogcocephalidae, batfish, humphead wrasse, spotted eagle rays, scorpionfish, lobsters, nudibranches, Pomacanthidae, angelfish, butterflyfish, squirrelfish, soldierfish, Asiatic glassfish, glassfish, surgeonfish, Naso (fish), unicornfish, triggerfish, Napoleon wrasse, and barracuda. These coral reefs are home to a variety of marine ecosystems that vary from planktonic organisms to whale sharks. Sponges have gained importance as five species have displayed anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties. In 1998, sea-temperature warming of as much as due to a single El Niño-Southern Oscillation, El Niño phenomenon event caused coral bleaching, killing two-thirds of the nation's coral reefs. In an effort to induce the regrowth of the reefs, scientists placed electrified cones anywhere from below the surface to provide a substrate for larval coral attachment. In 2004, scientists witnessed corals regenerating. Corals began to eject pink-orange eggs and sperm. The growth of these electrified corals was five times faster than untreated corals. Scientist Azeez Hakim stated: Again, in 2016, the coral reefs of the Maldives experienced a Coral bleaching#Maldives, severe bleaching incident. Up to 95% of coral around some islands have died, and, even after six months, 100% of young coral transplants died. The surface water temperatures reached an all-time high in 2016, at 31 degrees Celsius in May. Recent scientific studies suggest that the faunistic composition can vary greatly between neighbour atolls, especially in terms of benthic fauna. Differences in terms of fishing pressure (including poaching) could be the cause.


Government

Maldives is a presidential system, presidential republic, constitutional republic, with extensive influence of the president as head of government and head of state. The president heads the Executive (government), executive branch, and appoints the Cabinet of the Maldives, cabinet which is approved by the Majlis of the Maldives, People's Majlis (Parliament). He leads the Maldives National Defence Force, armed forces. The current president as of 19 October 2021 is Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. President and Members of the Unicameralism, unicameral Majlis serve five-year terms, with the total number of members determined by atoll populations. At the Maldivian parliamentary election, 2014, 2014 election, 77 members were elected. The People's Majlis, located in
Malé Malé (, ; dv, މާލެ) is the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Maldives. With a population of 227,486 and an area of , it is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The city is geographically located at ...

Malé
, houses members from all over the country. The republican constitution came into force in 1968 and was amended in 1970, 1972, and 1975. On 27 November 1997 it was replaced by another Constitution assented to by then-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Maumoon. This Constitution came into force on 1 January 1998. The current Constitution of Maldives was ratified by President Maumoon on 7 August 2008, and came into effect immediately, replacing and repealing the constitution of 1998. This new constitution includes a judiciary run by an independent commission, and independent commissions to oversee elections and fight corruption. It also reduces the executive powers vested under the president and strengthens the parliament. All state that the President of the Maldives, president is head of state, head of government and Commander-in-Chief of the Maldives National Defence Force, armed forces of the Maldives. In 2018, the then ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM-Y)'s tensions with opposition parties and subsequent crackdown was termed as an "assault on democracy" by the United Nations Human Rights Council, UN Human Rights chief. In April 2019 parliamentary 2019 Maldivian parliamentary election, election The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won a landslide victory. It took 65 of 87 seats of the parliament. This was the first time a single party was able to get such a high number of seats in the parliament in Maldivian history.


Law

According to the Constitution of Maldives, "the judges are independent, and subject only to the Constitution and the law. When deciding matters on which the Constitution or the law is silent, judges must consider Islamic Sharia, Shari'ah". Islam is the official religion of the Maldives and open practice of any other religion is forbidden. The 2008 constitution says that the republic "is based on the principles of Islam" and that "no law contrary to any principle of Islam can be applied". Non-Muslims are prohibited from becoming citizens. The requirement to adhere to a particular religion and prohibition of public worship following other religions is contrary to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Maldives has recently become party and was addressed in Maldives' reservation in adhering to the Covenant claiming that "The application of the principles set out in Article 18 of the Covenant shall be without prejudice to the Constitution of the Republic of the Maldives." A new Criminal code, penal code came into effect on July 16, 2015, replacing the 1968 law, the first modern, comprehensive penal code to incorporate the major tenets and principles of Islamic law. Homosexuality, Same-sex relations are illegal in the Maldives, although tourist resorts typically operate as exceptions to this law.


Foreign relations

Since 1996, the Maldives has been the official progress monitor of the Indian Ocean Commission. In 2002, the Maldives began to express interest in the commission but had not applied for membership. Maldives' interest relates to its identity as a small island state, especially economic development and environmental preservation, and its desire for closer relations with France, a main actor in the IOC region. The Maldives is a founding member of the
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) or international organization is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (ref ...
(South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, SAARC). The republic joined the
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
in 1982, some 17 years after gaining independence from the United Kingdom. In October 2016, Maldives announced its withdrawal from the Commonwealth in protest at allegations of human rights abuse and failing democracy. The Maldives enjoys close ties with Commonwealth members Seychelles and Mauritius. The Maldives and Comoros are also both members of the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC; ar, منظمة التعاون الإسلامي, Munaẓẓama at-Taʿāwun al-ʾIslāmiyy; french: Organisation de la coopération islamique), formerly the Organisation of the Islamic Conference ...
. Following his election as president in 2018, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and his Cabinet decided that the Maldives would apply to rejoin the Commonwealth, with readmission occurring on 1 February 2020.


Military

The Maldives National Defence Force is the combined security organisation responsible for defending the security and sovereignty of the Maldives, having the primary task of being responsible for attending to all internal and external security needs of the Maldives, including the protection of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the maintenance of peace and security. The MNDF component branches are the Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Special Forces, Service Corps, Military Police, Corps of Engineers, Special Protection Group, Medical Service, Air Wing, and the Fire and Rescue Service. The Maldives has an arrangement with India allowing cooperation on radar coverage. As a water-bound nation, much of its security concerns lie at sea. Almost 99% of the country is covered by sea and the remaining 1% land is scattered over an area of × , with the largest island being not more than . Therefore, the duties assigned to the MNDF of maintaining surveillance over Maldives' waters and providing protection against foreign intruders poaching in the EEZ and territorial waters, are immense tasks from both logistical and economic viewpoints. The Coast Guard plays a vital role in carrying out these functions. To provide timely security its patrol boats are stationed at various MNDF Regional Headquarters. The Coast Guard is also assigned to respond to the maritime distress calls and to conduct search and rescue operations in a timely manner. In 2019, Maldives signed the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.


Human rights

Human rights in the Maldives is a contentious issue. In its 2011 Freedom in the World report, Freedom House declared the Maldives "Partly Free", claiming a reform process which had made headway in 2009 and 2010 had stalled. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor claims in their 2012 report on human rights practices in the country that the most significant problems are corruption, lack of Freedom of religion, religious freedom, and abuse and unequal treatment of women.


Administrative divisions

The Maldives has twenty-six natural Atolls of the Maldives, atolls and few island groups on isolated reefs, all of which have been divided into twenty-one administrative divisions (17 administrative atolls and cities of
Malé Malé (, ; dv, މާލެ) is the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Maldives. With a population of 227,486 and an area of , it is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The city is geographically located at ...

Malé
, Addu City, Addu, Fuvahmulah and Kulhudhuffushi). Each atoll is administered by an elected Atoll Council. The islands are administered by an elected Island Council. In addition to a name, every administrative division is identified by the Maldivian code letters, such as "Haa Alif" for Northern Thiladhunmathi Atoll, Thiladhunmati Uthuruburi (Thiladhunmathi North); and by a Latin code letter. The first corresponds to the geographical Maldivian name of the atoll; the second is a code adopted for convenience. As there are certain islands in different atolls that have the same name, for administrative purposes this code is quoted before the name of the island, for example: Baa Funadhoo, Kaafu Funadhoo, Gaafu-Alifu Funadhoo. Since most atolls have very long geographical names it is also used whenever the long name is inconvenient, for example in the atoll website names.''Divehiraajjege Jōgrafīge Vanavaru''. Muhammadu Ibrahim Lutfee The introduction of code-letter names has been a source of much puzzlement and misunderstandings, especially among foreigners. Many people have come to think that the code-letter of the administrative atoll is its new name and that it has replaced its geographical name. Under such circumstances, it is hard to know which is the correct name to use.


Economy

Historically, the Maldives provided enormous quantities of cowry shells, history of money, an international currency of the early ages. From the 2nd century AD, the islands were known as the 'Money Isles' by the Arabs. ''Monetaria moneta'' were used for centuries as a currency in Africa, and huge amounts of Maldive Islands, Maldivian cowries were introduced into Africa by western nations during the period of slave trade. The cowry is now the symbol of the Maldives Monetary Authority. In the early 1970s, the Maldives was one of the world's 20 poorest countries, with a population of 100,000. The economy at the time was largely dependent on fisheries and trading local goods such as coir rope, ambergris (Maavaharu), and coco de mer (Tavakkaashi) with neighbouring countries and East Asian countries. The Maldivian government began a largely successful economic reform programme in the 1980s, initiated by lifting import quotas and giving more opportunities to the private sector. At the time tourism sector which would play a significant role in the nation's development was at its infant stage. Agriculture and manufacturing continue to play lesser roles in the economy, constrained by the limited availability of cultivable land and the shortage of domestic labour.


Tourism

The Maldives remained largely unknown to tourists until the early 1970s. Only 189 islands are home to its 447,137 inhabitants. The other islands are used entirely for economic purposes, of which tourism and agriculture are the most dominant. Tourism in the Maldives, Tourism accounts for 28% of the GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives' foreign exchange receipts. Over 90% of government tax revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes. The development of tourism fostered the overall growth of the Economy of the Maldives, country's economy. It created direct and indirect employment and income generation opportunities in other related industries. The first tourist resorts were opened in 1972 with Bandos Island Resort and Kurumba Village (the current name is Kurumba Maldives), which transformed the Maldives economy. According to the Ministry of Tourism (Maldives), Ministry of Tourism, the emergence of tourism in 1972 transformed the economy, moving rapidly from dependence on fisheries to tourism. In just three and a half decades, the industry became the main source of income. Tourism was also the country's biggest foreign currency earner and the single largest contributor to the GDP. , 89 resorts in the Maldives offered over 17,000 beds and hosted over 600,000 tourists annually. In 2019 over 1.7 million visitors came to the islands. The number of resorts increased from 2 to 92 between 1972 and 2007. , over 8,380,000 tourists had visited Maldives. The country has List of mosques in the Maldives, six heritage Maldivian coral mosques listed as UNESCO tentative sites.


Visitors

Visitors to the Maldives do not need to apply for a visa pre-arrival, regardless of their country of origin, provided they have a valid passport, proof of onward travel, and the money to be self-sufficient while in the country. Most visitors arrive at Velana International Airport, on Hulhulé Island, adjacent to the capital Malé. The airport is served by flights to and from India, Sri Lanka, Doha, Dubai, Singapore, Istanbul, and major airports in South-East Asia, as well as charters from Europe. Gan International Airport, Gan Airport, on the southern atoll of Addu City, Addu, also serves an international flight to Milan several times a week. British Airways offers direct flights to the Maldives around 2–3 times per week.


Fishing industry

For many centuries the Maldivian economy was entirely dependent on fishing and other ocean, marine products. Fishing remains the main occupation of the people and the government gives priority to the fisheries sector. The mechanisation of the traditional fishing boat called ''Dhoni (fishing vessel), dhoni'' in 1974 was a major milestone in the development of the fisheries industry. A fish canning plant was installed on 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 programmes began in the early 1980s, 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 the Maldives for fisheries has further enhanced the growth of the fisheries sector. , fisheries contributed over 15% of the country's GDP and engaged about 30% of the country's workforce. Fisheries were also the second-largest foreign exchange earner after #Tourism, tourism.


Demographics

The largest ethnic group is Dhivehis, Dhivehin, i.e. the Maldivians, native to the historic region of the Maldive Islands comprising today's Republic of Maldives and the island of
Minicoy Minicoy, locally known as Maliku (), is an island in Lakshadweep, India. Along with Viringili, it is on ''Maliku atoll'', the southernmost atoll of Lakshadweep archipelago. Administratively, it is a census town in the Indian States and territori ...
in Lakshadweep, Union territory of Lakshadweep, India. They share the same culture and speak the Dhivehi language. They are principally an Indo-Aryan peoples, Indo-Aryan people, having traces of Middle Eastern, South Asian, Austronesian peoples, Austronesian and African genes in the population. In the past, there was also a small
Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysians, Tamil people native to Malaysia * Tamil language, a Dravidian languages, ...
population known as the
Giraavaru people Tradition claims that the Giraavaru people were the ancient owners and rulers of the Maldives. The Giraavaru people lived isolated in Giraavaru (Kaafu Atoll), Giraavaru Island. They were relocated due to erosion on their island to other parts of th ...
. This group has now been almost completely absorbed into the larger Maldivian society but were once native to the island of Giraavaru (Kaafu Atoll). This island was evacuated in 1968 due to heavy erosion of the island. Some social stratification exists on the islands. It is not rigid, since rank is based on varied factors, including occupation, wealth, Islamic virtue, and family ties. Instead of a complex caste system, there was merely a distinction between noble (bēfulhu) and common people in the Maldives. Members of the social elite are concentrated in Malé. The population doubled by 1978, and the population growth rate peaked at 3.4% in 1985. At the 2006 census, the population had reached 298,968, although the census in 2000 showed that the population growth rate had declined to 1.9%. Life expectancy at birth stood at 46 years in 1978, and later rose to 72. Infant mortality has declined from 12.7% in 1977 to 1.2% today, and adult literacy reached 99%. Combined school enrollment reached the high 90s. The population was projected to have reached 317,280 in 2010. The 2014 Population and Housing Census listed the total population in Maldives as 437,535: 339,761 resident Maldivians and 97,774 resident foreigners, approximately 16% of the total population. However, it is believed that foreigners have been undercounted. there are 281,000 expatriate workers, out of which 63,000 are estimated to be undocumented in the Maldives: 3,506 Chinese, 5,029 Nepalese, 15,670 Sri Lankans, 28,840 Indians, and 112,588 Bangladeshis in the Maldives, Bangladeshis, making them the largest group of foreigners working in the country. Other immigrants include Filipinos in the Maldives as well as various Western foreign workers.


Religion

After the long Buddhism in the Maldives, Buddhist period of Maldivian history, Muslim traders introduced Islam. Maldivians converted to Islam by the mid-12th century. The islands have had a long history of Sufic orders, as can be seen in the history of the country such as the building of tombs. They were used until as recently as the 1980s for seeking the help of buried saints. They can be seen next to some old mosques and are considered a part of Maldives's cultural heritage. Other aspects of tassawuf, such as ritualised dhikr ceremonies called Maulūdu (Mawlid)—the liturgy of which included recitations and certain supplications in a melodic tone—existed until very recent times. These Maulūdu festivals were held in ornate tents specially built for the occasion. At present Islam is the official religion of the entire population, as adherence to it is required for citizenship. According to Moroccan traveller
Ibn Battuta Ibn Battuta (; 24 February 13041368/1369); fully: ; Arabic: was a Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an e ...
, the person responsible for this conversion was a Sunni Muslim visitor named Abu al-Barakat Yusuf al-Barbari, sailing from Morocco. He is also referred to as Tabrizugefaanu. His venerated tomb now stands on the grounds of Medhu Ziyaaraiy, across the street from the Friday Mosque, or Hukuru Miskiy, in Malé. Built in 1656, this is the country's oldest mosque.


Languages

The official and common language is Dhivehi language, Dhivehi, an Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan language closely related to the Sinhala language of Sri Lanka. The first known script used to write Dhivehi is the ''eveyla akuru'' script, which is found in the historical recording of kings (''raadhavalhi''). Later a script called ''dhives akuru'' was used for a long period. The present-day script is called Thaana and is written from right to left. Thaana is said to have been introduced by the reign of Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam, Mohamed Thakurufaanu. English is widely spoken by the locals of the Maldives. “Following the nation's opening to the outside world, the introduction of English as a medium of instruction at the secondary and tertiary levels of education, and its government's recognition of the opportunities offered through tourism, English has now firmly established itself in the country. As such, the Maldives are quite similar to the countries in the Gulf region .... The nation is undergoing vast societal change, and English is part of this.”


Population by locality


Health

On 24 May 2021, Maldives had the world's fastest-growing COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 outbreak, with the highest number of infections per million people over the prior 7 and 14 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Doctors warned that increasing demand for COVID-19 care could hinder their ability to handle other health emergencies in the Maldives. The reason of the outbreak obviously was the Delta variant.


Culture

The culture of the Maldives is influenced by the cultures of the people of different ethnicities who have settled on the islands throughout the times. Since the 12th century AD, there were also influences from Arabia in the language and culture of the Maldives because of the conversion to Islam and its location as a crossroads in the central Indian Ocean. This was due to the long trading history between the far east and the middle east. Reflective of this is the fact that the Maldives has had the highest national divorce rate in the world for many decades. This, it is hypothesised, is due to a combination of liberal Islamic rules about divorce and the relatively loose marital bonds that have been identified as common in non- and semi-sedentary peoples without a history of fully developed agrarian property and kinship relations.


Transportation

Velana International Airport is the principal gateway to the Maldives; it is near the capital city
Malé Malé (, ; dv, މާލެ) is the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Maldives. With a population of 227,486 and an area of , it is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The city is geographically located at ...

Malé
and is surrounded by water. International travel is available on government-owned Island Aviation Services (branded as Maldivian), which operates to nearly all Maldives domestic airports with several Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft, and one Airbus A320 with international service to India, Bangladesh, China, and Thailand. In Maldives, there are three main ways to travel between islands: by domestic flight, by seaplane, or by boat. For several years there were two seaplane companies operating: TMA (Trans Maldivian Airways) and Maldivian Air Taxi, but these merged in 2013 under the name TMA. The seaplane fleet is entirely made up of DHC-6 Twin Otters. There is also another airline, Flyme (Villa Air), Flyme, which operates using ATR (aircraft manufacturer), ATR planes to domestic airports, principally Villa International Airport, Maamigili, Dharavandhoo Airport, Dharavandhoo and some others. Manta Air begins its first scheduled seaplane service. Its seaplane fleet is made up of DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft. In addition to the seaplane service, Manta Air utilizes ATR (aircraft manufacturer), ATR 72–600 aircraft to operate domestic flights to Dhaalu Airport, Dharavandhoo Airport and Kooddoo Airport from the main Velana International Airport. Depending on the distance of the destination island from the airport, resorts organise speedboat transfers or seaplane flights directly to the resort island jetty for their guests. Several daily flights operate from Velana International Airport to the 12 domestic and international airports in the country. Scheduled ferries also operate from
Malé Malé (, ; dv, މާލެ) is the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Maldives. With a population of 227,486 and an area of , it is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The city is geographically located at ...

Malé
to many of the atolls. The traditional Maldivian boat is called a Dhoni (fishing vessel), dhoni. Speedboats and seaplanes tend to be more expensive, while travel by dhoni, although slower, is relatively cheaper and convenient.


Education

The Maldives National University is one of the country's three institutions of higher education. Its mission statement is as follows:
To create, discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge that is necessary to enhance the lives and livelihoods of people and essential for the cultural, social and economic development of the society so that this nation shall remain free and Islamic forever.
In 1973, the Allied Health Services Training Centre (the forerunner of the Faculty of Health Sciences) was established by the Ministry of Health. The Vocational Training Centre was established in 1974, providing training for mechanical and electrical trades. In 1984, the Institute for Teacher Education was created and the School of Hotel and Catering Services was established in 1987 to provide trained personnel for the tourist industry. In 1991, the Institute of Management and Administration was created to train staff for public and private services. In 1998, the Maldives College of Higher Education was founded. The Institute of Shar'ah and Law was founded in January 1999. In 2000 the college launched its first-degree programme, Bachelor of Arts. On 17 January 2011 the Maldives National University Act was passed by the President of the Maldives; The Maldives National University was named on 15 February 2011.


See also

* Index of Maldives-related articles * Outline of Maldives * Maldives Sign Language *Maldives Inland Revenue Authority


References


Further reading

* ''Divehiraajjege Jōgrafīge Vanavaru''. Muhammadu Ibrahim Lutfee. G.Sōsanī. Malé 1999. * H. C. P. Bell, ''The Maldive Islands, An account of the Physical Features, History, Inhabitants, Productions and Trade''. Colombo 1883, . * H.C.P. Bell, ''The Maldive Islands; Monograph on the History, Archaeology and Epigraphy''. Reprint Colombo 1940. Council for Linguistic and Historical Research. Malé 1989. * H.C.P. Bell, ''Excerpta Maldiviana''. Reprint Colombo 1922/35 edn. Asian Educational Services. New Delhi 1999. * ''Divehi Tārīkhah Au Alikameh. Divehi Bahāi Tārikhah Khidmaiykurā Qaumī Markazu''. Reprint 1958 edn. Malé, Maldives 1990. * Christopher, William (1836–38). ''Transactions of the Bombay Geographical Society'', Vol. I. Bombay. * Lieut. I.A. Young & W. Christopher, ''Memoirs on the Inhabitants of the Maldive Islands''. * Wilhelm Geiger, Geiger, Wilhelm. ''Maldivian Linguistic Studies''. Reprint 1919 edn. Asian Educational Services. Delhi 1999. * Hockly, T.W. ''The Two Thousand Isles''. Reprint 1835 edn. Asian Educational Services. Delhi 2003. * Hideyuki Takahashi, ''Maldivian National Security –And the Threats of Mercenaries'', The Round Table (London), No. 351, July 1999, pp. 433–444. * Malten, Thomas: Malediven und Lakkadiven. Materialien zur Bibliographie der Atolle im Indischen Ozean. Beiträge zur Südasien-Forschung Südasien-Institut Universität Heidelberg, Nr. 87. Franz Steiner Verlag. Wiesbaden, 1983. * Vilgon, Lars: Maldive and Minicoy Islands Bibliography with the Laccadive Islands. Published by the author. Stockholm, 1994. * Clarence Maloney, ''People of the Maldive Islands'', Orient Black Swan, 2013 * Xavier Romero-Frias, ''The Maldive Islanders: a study of the popular culture of an ancient ocean kingdom'', NEI, 1999 * Xavier Romero-Frias, ''Folk Tales of the Maldives'', Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, 2012 * Djan Sauerborn,
The Perils of Rising Fundamentalism in the Maldives
'', International Relations and Security Network (ISN), Zürich, September 2013 * Djan Sauerborn,
Failing to Transition: Democratization under Stress in the Maldives
', South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), February 2015


External links


Official tourist information

President's Office

Maldives
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
Maldives
from UCB Libraries GovPubs *
Maldives
from the BBC News *
Key Development Forecasts for the Maldives
from International Futures
Constitution of the Republic of Maldives
{{Authority control Maldives, 1965 establishments in Asia Archipelagoes of the Indian Ocean Countries in Asia Island countries Island countries of the Indian Ocean Landforms of South Asia Member states of the Commonwealth of Nations Member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Member states of the United Nations Republics Commonwealth republics Small Island Developing States South Asian countries States and territories established in 1965 Former least developed countries