General Information about Maldives

The official name is the Republic of Maldives (Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhoriyyaa). Located in South Asia. Area 298 km2 (land), population 0.32 million people. (Estimate, Ser. 2002). The state language is Divehi. The capital is the city of Male (75 thousand people, est. 2002). Public holiday – Independence Day July 26 (since 1965). The monetary unit is the Maldivian rupee (rufiyaa).

Member of the UN (since 1965) and its specialized agencies (ICAO, UNESCO, UNCTAD, UNIDO, etc.), IBRD, IMF, ADB (since 1978), British Commonwealth of Nations (since 1982), WTO (since 1995), SAARC (since 1985).

Geography of the Maldives

Located between 72°32’30” and 73°45’54” east longitude and 7°60’30” north latitude and 0°41’48” south latitude – in the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, 600 km south of India and 750 km southwest of Sri Lanka. They occupy 90 thousand km2 of sea territory (820 km long and 130 km wide).

The length of the coastline is 644 km. The islands of the Maldives archipelago form 2 parallel chains of coral superstructures on the meridional underwater ridge between the Laccadive and Chagos islands; the archipelago consists of 26 atolls out of 1190 coral islands (200 are inhabited). The relief is flat (the highest point is 2.4 m, the lowest is 0 m), the shores are lagoonal, there are many coral reefs. There are no minerals. The climate is tropical, monsoonal (two rainy seasons). The average annual temperature is +28°С, with monthly fluctuations from +25°С to +32°С. Monsoons bring abundant rainfall (more than 2500 mm per year in the north and more than 3800 mm in the south). From the vegetation there are coconut palms, breadfruit, banana groves. There are more than 1200 species of fish in the deep sea.

History of the Maldives

Apparently, the first inhabitants of the Maldives were the Dravidians from Kerala (from the middle of the 2nd millennium BC). According to the theory of T. Heyerdahl, the first were sun worshipers and sailors of the “redina”. The Indo-Aryans began settling the Maldives in the 5th c. BC. The religion of the population was Buddhism until the beginning of the penetration of Islam through Arab and Persian traders. In 1153 the last Buddhist king of the Maldives converted to Islam and assumed a new title and name (Sultan Mohammed al-Adil). There are 6 dynasties of Maldivian sultans (and 84 sultans) until 1932. The principle of inheritance was not strictly observed.

From the 16th century The Maldives are under regular attack. In 1558 the archipelago was captured by the Portuguese, but in 1573 the local population, led by Mohammed Thakurufan, expelled the Portuguese garrison. The leader of the rebels became the new sultan and founded his own dynasty, which ruled for 127 years. Managed to repel the Maldives and the invasion from Malabar. However, in the 2nd half. 17th century The Maldives became dependent on the Dutch East India Company, and from 1796 on Great Britain. According to the agreement of 1887, the Maldives were turned into a protectorate (Great Britain completely controlled foreign policy and defense issues). The lack of minerals and significant volumes of important products reduced the importance of the archipelago, and power, albeit limited, continued to be in the hands of the sultans. In 1932, the Constitution of the Maldives came into effect, providing for the election of sultans, but retained many traditional norms and customs. Women also got the right to vote. In accordance with the Anglo-Maldives Agreement of 1948, Great Britain retained the right to complete control over the foreign policy of the Maldives and to use their territory for military-political purposes. In the beginning. 1950s several constitutions were adopted, establishing a different republican form of government. In 1954, the seventh Constitution again proclaimed the creation of the Sultanate.

Great Britain actively participated in the changes taking place and even contributed to the overthrow of one of the governments that wanted to prevent the construction of a British military base on the island of Gan. On July 26, 1965, the full independence of the Maldives was proclaimed (Great Britain got the opportunity to use the military base for 20 years). At a national referendum (March 1968), a decision was made to declare the Maldives a republic. Ibrahim Nasir, who dominated the political scene, became president. In 1973 he again became president. In 1975, Prime Minister A. Zaki, who became very popular in the Maldives, was arrested and deported to a remote atoll. In 1978 I. Nasir fled to Singapore. Since 1978 M. A. Gayum became the President of the Maldives, who has been in power for a quarter of a century.

Science and culture of the Maldives

According to educationvv, education is developing at a very fast pace. Since 1978 a unified system of education has been created. There were 528 schools, not counting preschools. Each atoll has two model public schools. 51% of students study in public schools, 40% – in “community”, 9% – in private. For 92,462 students, there were approx. 3 thousand professional teachers (2000).

Higher educational institutions appeared in the Maldives – the Maldives Technical Institute, the Pedagogical Institute, the Institute of Management and Administration, the Medical Institute, etc. There were 8687 students, incl. 3034 women (1999). During 1990-2000, 12 citizens of the Maldives received degrees abroad.

In 1982, the National Council for Linguistic and Historical Research was established in Male. It is proposed to create a National Research Foundation.

Geography of the Maldives