The Online Library of Knowledge



A map of the MaldivesA map of the MaldivesThe Maldives are a double chain of 1192 coral islands. They are spread over a distance of 885 kilometres (550 miles) north to south. Many of the islands are grouped rings, called atolls. Just 200 of them are inhabited. The location of the Maldives on the Equator gives them a tropical climate with hot, breezy weather all year round and a stormy monsoon season between June and August. Fringed by white sandy beaches and shallow seas, the Maldives are among the lowest-lying islands in the world. Rising sea levels threaten to submerge them completely by the end of the century.

An aerial view of MaléAn aerial view of Malé

A tourist resort in the MaldivesA tourist resort in the Maldives

People and

Just under a third of the population of 395,000 lives on the 1.6-kilometre-long (1-mile) island of Malé, making it one of the most densely populated islands on Earth. Nearly everyone in the Maldives is Muslim, and speaks Dhivehi.

Tourism provides the Maldives with its greatest source of income. Each year, about 800,000 tourists visit the islands’ beaches and resorts. People can travel between the islands on small ferries. Fishing has always been important in the Maldives. As well as being a staple food in Maldivians’ diets, fish such as tuna is exported all over the world. Fishermen use small boats called dhonis, traditionally built from coconut wood.

In 2009, the Maldivian government, led by President Mohamed Nasheed, held a cabinet meeting underwater to raise awareness of the Maldives’ threat from rising sea levels. The ministers wore diving equipment and used hand signals to communicate.

© 2020 Q-files Ltd. All rights reserved. Switch to Mobile