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The Maldives, a chain of 19 island groups, lie
southwest of India and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean.
The 19 atolls form around 2,000 coral islands, around
200 of which are inhabited.
The atolls were formed by volcanic eruptions of a
mountain range submerged in the sea and are coral reefs
that were formed by the lava that was expelled and that
enclose the volcanic peaks protruding from the sea.
Between the islands and the coral reefs, lagoons were
formed by the inflowing sea water, which give the
islands the typical appearance on aerial photographs.
Among the most densely populated islands were the
Male Atoll with the capital of the same name on the
southeast coast, further the Suvadiva Atoll and the
Tuladummati Atoll. None of the islands in the Maldives
is larger than 15 km², about 80% of the country's area
(298 km² in total) are less than 1.5 m above sea level.
Mal®¶ is the economic and administrative center of the
Maldives. The island, which is only 2.7 km² in size, is
overpopulated with around 105,000 residents. The
eye-catcher is the golden dome of the Islamic Center
with its mosque and minaret.
The climate is tropical and humid. The average annual
temperature is 30 °„ C without major fluctuations. The
annual rainfall is approximately 1 900 mm, the southwest
monsoon from mid-April to the end of September brings
the main rainfall.
Flora and fauna
Despite the approximately 250 different species that
grow on the islands, the flora is quite monotonous.
Typical are coconut palms, which are grown in
plantations on some islands and otherwise grow wild. On
the inhabited islands you can find crops such as
breadfruit, papaya and bananas.
As in most of the smaller oceanic islands, there is
not much biodiversity in the Maldives. In addition to
various bat species, such as the Indian fruit bat, there
are countless geckos, various lizards (beautiful
lizards) and toads (black-nosed toads). The two known
types of snake are harmless to humans. The rhinoceros
beetle often causes considerable damage to the coconut
plantations. In addition to various seabirds, there is a
raven species in the Maldives and the small Alexander
parakeet from the parrot species. The reefs are a
stopover for numerous migratory birds, here you can also
see several types of herons such as the gray heron, the
mangrove heron and the crested egret.
The basis for the unique underwater world, which is
the reason for approx. 40% of all tourists to visit the
Maldives, are the corals. Corals belong to the so-called
flower animals and form the reefs, which attract
countless divers with their colors and as a habitat for
exotic plants and fish. However, how long this idyll
will remain is questionable: in the spring of 1998 there
was a short-term warming of the sea (as a result of El
Niño), which had fatal consequences for the coral reef
ecosystem (not only in the Maldives ). Estimates of what
percentage of corals will die or will die in the next
few years due to global warming will diverge greatly.
The population of the inhabited Maldives Islands is
estimated at around 300,000 residents. The island of
Hitadu in the southern atoll Seenu has the second
highest population with approximately 7,000 residents.
The fresh water available there is decisive for the
settlement of the individual islands. There is a village
community on each of the inhabited islands, the name of
which corresponds to the name of the island. Thanks to
improved medical care, the island nation is now one of
the countries with the highest birth rates on earth and
the population grows by an average of 2.8%. Life
expectancy averages 64 years.
The Maldivians, who also call themselves Divehi, are
probably of Arab-Indian and Malay origin. Almost all
residents are Sunni Muslims, Islam is the state
religion. This gives the man the right to take four
wives, but this is practically no longer practiced
today, primarily for economic reasons. According to COUNTRYAAH,
the literacy rate
is 97.2%, and there are now schools on all inhabited
According to the 2008 constitution, the Maldives is a
presidential republic of the Commonwealth. The head of
state is the president, who simultaneously holds the
office of head of government and minister of defense
(Abdulla Yameen, since November 2013). It is proposed by
the parliament and elected by the people for five years
(one-time re-election possible).
The legislature lies with the parliament (Madschlis),
which consists of 77 members who are elected by the
people for five years. The opposition, which has been
officially permitted since 1998, has in fact only
existed since 2005.
The legal basis is Islamic law.
The Maldives are divided into seven provinces and one
The Maldives is one of the Asian countries that has
made tremendous economic progress in recent decades -
however, the new wealth remains very unevenly
Tourism forms the basis of the national economy. It
contributes 28% to gross domestic product (GDP) and
brings more than 60% of foreign exchange earnings. The
tsunami in December 2004 threw the tourism industry back
years: Due to the low height of the islands above sea
level, they were swept over a wide area. Fishing and
processing are the second largest industry. 11% of the
workforce is employed there. On the islands away from
the capital, fishing is still the basis of life for most
of the residents; In addition, about 70% of the export
is made up of fish (especially tuna). Millets, corn,
cassava and sweet potatoes are grown for their own
use.The most important crop is the coconut palm, from
which copra, coconut fibers and oil are obtained.
In addition to fish, textiles are mainly exported to
Thailand, Sri Lanka and Japan. Food and consumer goods,
crude oil and ships are imported, especially from
Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. The largest
ports for commercial shipping are Male and Gan.
The currency is the rufiyaa (= 100 laari).