Maldives is a chain of tropical islands in the Indian Ocean. It is considered an earthly paradise, with beautiful white beaches and sparkling blue waters.
Tourism is the country’s major source of income, accounting for over a third of GDP. Growth is aided by a recovery in tourism from traditional European markets, Russia, and new interest from Middle Eastern countries.
The Maldives has a mixed history and culture. Its early inhabitants were Buddhists, who arrived from Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The name “Maldives” may refer to a Sanskrit word for a garland of islands.
Today, Islam is the religion of the people and the law is based on sharia. It is illegal to openly practice other religions.
Politically, the Maldives is a presidential republic. Its president is elected by direct national vote and is head of state and head of government. The parliament is unicameral and has 87 members.
Women have an important role in society and there are strong female politicians. A large percentage of government employees are women.
Education in the Maldives is very important to the people. In the past children were educated by their parents or tutors at home. The teaching was done at a very young age, using a thin wooden box filled with sand to write down the alphabet.
Fishing is a traditional sport in the Maldives and it is an environmentally friendly activity. In the morning the fishermen would leave from their island to go fishing. They would return in the late afternoon and the people would gather at the beach to see the fishermen’s catch.