Maldives is a country of 26 coral atolls scattered over the Indian Ocean. The islands are surrounded by turquoise waters and dotted with white sand beaches, forming a tropical paradise.
Throughout the centuries, the Maldives has sheltered a variety of people from different parts of the world who have contributed to its rich culture and heritage. The first settlers were Tamil and Sinhalese people from southern India and Sri Lanka, while traders from Arab countries, Malaya, Madagascar, Indonesia, and China also visited the Maldives.
The official language of the Maldives is Dhivehi (Maldivian) which is an Indo-European language related to Singhala. The language is not widely spoken in other parts of the world, though a small number of speakers are found in Singapore and Thailand.
Government and Politics
The Maldives has a democratic system of government with a President and vice-president elected by universal suffrage to two five-year terms. Multi-party politics were introduced in 2005, but were hampered by the arrest of opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed and weeks of demonstrations over his arrest in 2012.
The economy of the Maldives is dominated by the services sector, which provides a significant part of its GDP. These include hotels, resorts, airlines, fishing, tourism, and construction.
Fishing is a significant industry, employing about 45% of the workforce. Most fish is caught by pole and line, a traditional environmentally friendly method that hasn’t changed since the early days.
Food and Drink
Maldivian cuisine is spicy and wholesome, with coconut milk and fish a staple of the diet. A clear fish broth known as Garudiya is a mainstay of traditional Maldivian dishes, with onions and curry leaves giving it a distinctive flavour. Kulhiboakibaa, a traditional fish cake, is another popular dish across generations and can be found at many local restaurants.