The shimmering beaches and turquoise lagoons of the Maldives are perfect for a relaxing holiday with friends or family or even a romantic honeymoon or beach wedding. This tropical paradise has become a favourite destination for tourists from all over the world.
The official language is Dhivehi but English is widely spoken in tourist resorts. The majority of the population follows Islam, but freedom of religion is respected. The capital city of Male is located on a ring-shaped atoll.
Maldivians are known for their warm hospitality. It is customary for islanders to greet each other with a handshake when meeting. The main industry is tourism, and the country’s economy is mainly based on it. There are a number of activities to enjoy on the islands, from water sports and snorkelling to nature tours and dolphin-watching.
Historically, Maldivian life has been interwoven with trade with other nations. The archipelago was first inhabited as early as the 5th century bce by Buddhist peoples from southern India and Sri Lanka. These settlers eventually adopted Islam in the 12th century bce, and the Maldives became a trading nation.
Maldivians are governed by a constitution ratified in 2008. The president, who is head of state and government, is elected to a five-year term by national vote. The legislative branch of the government, the Majlis of Maldives, is unicameral with 87 members who are both elected by atolls and appointed by the president. The legal system is based on Islamic sharia law.