The Maldives
Welcome to the Maldives
Welcome to the Maldives, where sands are white as the smiles of the locals, where fish swim happily in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, where the weather is a dream, and the deep rays of the sun wait to engulf you their arms.

In ancient times, the shores of the Maldives welcomed lost travellers. Still welcoming, these shores remain, providing a tranquil haven for visitors.

(in thaana script):
Hindhu emaa kandu therein, Mala fehi ruhgas hedhey
Meemagey ufan bimey, Dheebu Dhivehi mee
Kula ali maa Kandu therein, Ali raiy mui hen dhirey
Meemagey ufan bimey, dheebu Dhivehi mee

Translation:
In horizon of the vast Indian Ocean grow green palms
This is my homeland, this is the Maldives
From the clear blue seas, we grow like pearls,
This is my homeland, this is the Maldives

(Dheebu Dhivehi Mee, Old Maldivian Folk song)
Country At A Glance
Maldives has deep blue seas, turquoise reefs, white sandy beaches and palm trees. It is also a place full of character, where its people have long spent their days languishing in the very essence of idyll living. While it is the perfect place to sit on a beach and watch a sunset with a cocktail balanced on your hand, it is also a geographical marvel, knowing that there are thousands of fish swimming around the vivid corals just a few feet away from where you sit.
Time: GMT+5hrs
Capital island: Male’
Total islands: 1,190
Inhabited islands: 200
Resort islands: 105
Population: Approx. 350,000
Major industries: Tourism and Fishing
Currency: Rufiyaa (USD 1 = MRF 15.42)
Electricity: 240 AC
Government Working hours: 8:00 am to 3:00 pm Sunday to Thursday
Bank hours: 9:00am to 03:00 pm Sunday to Thursdays
History
For Maldivians, who love a good story, it is somehow fitting that the early history of the country is enshrined in myth and legend. There is the story of the Rannamaari, a tale about a sea monster than demands a virgin sacrifice every full moon, until a brave man from Morocco, Mr Abdul Barakaath-Ul Barbary decides to confront the monster and prohibit him from coming into the Maldives.

There is the story of Bodu Thakurufaanu, renowned for its length, who saved the Maldives from Portuguese Invaders. These stories, while very much anecdotal, are based on the real facts that form the history of the country. Written accounts portray a Maldives whose people have traveled far and wide, adventurers whose geographical isolation had not limited the boundaries of their world. Maldives today remains very much like it had then – small, but not lacking; isolated, but not invisible.

1st Century AD - The Roman manual of Navigation, the Periplus Maris Erythraei mentions islands that are assumed to be theMaldives

2nd Century AD - Ptolemy refers to the Maldives in his geography 362 AD Roman historian records a visit of a Maldivian delegation to Rome, bearing gifts to emperor Julian 662 AD A historical Chinese document records that the King of the Maldives sent gifts to the Chinese Emperor Kao-Tsung of Tang Dynasty
  • 1153 - Maldives converts to Islam
  • 1558 - The Portuguese invade the Maldives
  • 1573 - Mohamed Thakurufaanu liberates the Maldives from the Portuguese
  • 1752 - The Malabars invade the Maldives for three months
  • 1887 - Protectorate signed with Great Britain
  • 1932 - The first Constitution of the Republic of Maldives enacted
  • 1953 - The first Republic with Mohamed Ameen as President
  • 1954 - End of the first Republic as Ameen is ousted; the Maldives reverts to Sultanate with Mohamed Fareed as ruler
  • 1965 - Independence from the British
  • 1968 - End of the Sultanate; second Republic begins with Ibrahim Nasir as President
  • 1972 - The first island resort is developed; tourists begin arriving to the Maldives
Location & Geography
The Maldives lies in two rows of atolls in the Indian Ocean, just across the equator. The country is made up of 1,190 coral islands formed around 26 natural ring-like atolls, spread over 90,000 square kilometers. These atolls structures are formed upon a sharp ridge rising from the ocean, making way for their secluded uniqueness.

Each atoll in the Maldives is made of a coral reef encircling a lagoon, with deep channels dividing the reef ring. A string of islands take their places among this atoll ring; each island has its own reef encircling the island lagoon. The reefs of the islands, alive with countless types of underwater creatures and vibrant corals, protect the islands from wind and wave action of the surrounding vast oceans. This unique structure of reefs and channels makes navigation almost impossible for the passer-by without sufficient information about these waters.

Ninety-nine percent of the Maldives is made up of sea. The people of the islands are widely dispersed across the atolls, with about 200 inhabited islands. About 90 islands are developed as tourist resort and the rest are uninhabited or used for agriculture and other livelihood purposes.
The Environment
The environment has a direct affect on all facets of a Maldivian’s life.The islands are protected by thousands of reefs that need to be alive for this unique archipelago to exist in future. The corals on our reefs need its countless inhabitants to feed on them for the corals to re-grow. Locals need the fish in the water for livelihood and they depend on the beauty of its reefs and islands to sustain our tourism industry. Most importantly, the Maldives needs its citizens and visitors to take care of its wonderful natural environment in order to survive as one of the most magical places on earth.

Several government regulations have been set up to enable a system to provide natural protection for the otherwise fragile 1,190 islands of Maldives. Important marine areas are selected as protected regions, starting from 1995. Endangered marine species like the whale shark, turtles, dolphins as well as corals are also protected by law. Hanifaru, a bay like lagoon in Baa atoll of Maldives, is among the most recently protected marine areas. This area is home to rays from around the Maldives that gather here to feast on the masses of plank tons brought into the lagoon by water currents.
Weather & Climate
The weather in the Maldives is usually picture perfect: sunlit days, breezy nights, balmy mornings, and iridescent sunsets. The temperature hardly ever changes - which makes packing for your holiday an easy task (see what to pack). With the average temperature at about 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year, the sun is a constant on most days, shining through treetops, creating lacy patterns on your feet, healing cold-bones with its warmth. Throughout the day, the sun will make itself known, ensuring that it will be remembered and missed, like an old friend, as you pack up your suitcases to leave.

Maldives has two distinct seasons; dry season (northeast monsoon) and wet season (southwest monsoon), with the former extending from January to March and the latter from mid-May to November.

The rare thunderstorm in the Maldives (especially around the southwest monsoon months) can be a welcome respite from the sun. Cloudy skies and slate grey seas, and crashing thunder makes up for lovely reading weather. The warm temperatures will allow you to go for a walk in the rain, a verdant, wet, thoroughly enjoyable experience. For extra exhilaration, take a swim in the rain - the sea will be extra warm.