General information: For a long time, the Maldives was a sultanate, being first under the Dutch, then under the British protectorate. The islands became a republic in 1968, three years after independence. Tourism and fishing are developing on the archipelago.
Location: South Asia, a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India. See franciscogardening.com to know more about Maldives Geography.
Geographical coordinates: 3° 15′ N. latitude, 73° 00′ E
Reference map: Asia.
Area: total: 300 sq. km.; land surface area: 300 km2; water surface area: 0 km2
Comparative area: approximately 1.7 times the area of Washington, DC.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 644 km.
Maritime claims: counted from the declared boundaries of the archipelago; neutral waters: 24 nautical miles; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; dry northeast monsoons from November to March; rainy southwest monsoons from June to August.
Relief: flat; white sandy beaches.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m; highest point: unnamed point on Addu Atoll 2.4 m.
Natural resources: fish.
Land use: arable land: 10%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 3%; forests and plantations: 3%; others: 84% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: no data.
Natural Hazards: Because the islands are low and flat, this makes them very sensitive to rising sea levels.
Current environmental issues: aquifer depletion reduces fresh water supplies; global warming and sea level rise; bleaching of coral reefs.
International agreements on environmental protection: member: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol, Hazardous Waste, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection; signed but not ratified: no.
Geography note: 1,190 coral islands make up 26 atolls (200 inhabited islands and 80 tourist islands); the archipelago occupies a strategic position along the main sea routes in the Indian Ocean.
Population: 310,764 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 45.63% (male 72,920; female 68,895); 15 to 64 years old: 51.37% (men 81,506; women 78,149); over 65: 3% (male 4,806; female 4,488) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 3.01% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 38.15 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 8.09 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 0 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female;, up to 15 years: 1.06 male/female; from 15 to 64 years old: 1.04 male/female; over 65: 1.07 male/female; for the general population: 1.05 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 63.72 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 62.56 years; men: 61.39 years; women: 63.8 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 5.5 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.05% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: no data.
Mortality due to AIDS: no data available.
Nationality: noun: resident of the Maldives; adjective: Maldivian.
Ethnic groups: South Indian peoples, Sinhalese, Arabs.
Believers: Sunni Muslims.
Languages): Maldivian (Dhivehi – a dialect of Sinhalese, writing of Arabic origin), English is spoken by most government officials.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 93.2%; men: 93.3%; women: 93% (1995 est.). State Name:
Common long form: Republic of the Maldives;
conventional short form: Maldives; local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jum-hooriyyaa; local short form: Dhivehi Raajje.
State structure: republic.
Administrative divisions: 19 atolls and 1 other first-order administrative division*: Alifu, Ba, Vavu, Gafu-Alifu, Gafu-Dhalu, Gnaviyani, Dhalu, Kafu, Lamu, Lhaviyani, Male*, Memu, Nonu, Ra, Senu, Tha, Fafu, Ha-Alifu, Ha-Dhalu, Shaviyani.
Independence: from July 26, 1965 (until 1965 – protectorate of Great Britain).
National holiday: Independence Day, July 26 (1965).
Constitution: adopted in January 1998.
Legal system: based on Islamic law with elements of English common law, mainly in the field of regulation of commercial activities; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 21 years old; universal.
chief of state: President Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM (since 11 November 1978) note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of government: President Maumoon Abdul GAYUM (since 11 November 1978) note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
Government: appointed by the President; note – members of the government should not be members of the Majlis; elections: the president is elected by the Mejlis, the chosen candidate must be approved in a national referendum (the candidate must receive at least 51% of the votes); the president is elected for five years; elections last held 16 October 1998 (next to be held in October 2003); election results: President Maumoon Abdul GAYUM re-elected; percentage of the votes won in the general suffrage: Maumun Abdul GAYUM 90.9%.
Legislature: unicameral People’s Council (Mejlis) (50 seats; 42 members are elected by popular vote, 8 are appointed by the president; term of office is five years); elections: last held 20 November 1999 (next to be held November 2004); election results: percentage of votes cast: n/a; distribution of seats: independent 42.
Judiciary: Supreme Court.
Political parties and leaders: While political parties are not banned, there are none.
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: AsDB, С, ССС, СР, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, SAARC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Diplomatic representation in the US: The Maldives does not have an embassy in the US, but has a permanent mission to the UN in New York.
US Diplomatic Representation: The US does not have an embassy in the Maldives; The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka is accredited to the Maldives and visits them periodically.
Description of the flag: red with a large green rectangle in the center of which is a vertical white crescent; the convex side of the crescent faces the left side of the flag.