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You are in:  Nations > Asia > Maldives
Maldives*Maldives flag
Basic facts
The country 
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Capital: Male
Area: 298 sq km; 115 sq miles
Population: 310,764 (July 2001 estimate)
Urbanisation: Urban 28 per cent; Rural 72 per cent


Exports: Fish, clothing

Industry: Fish processing, tourism, shipping, boat building, coconut processing, garments, woven mats, rope, handicrafts, coral and sand mining

Agriculture: Fishing, coconuts, corn, sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, vegetables, sorghum

Currency: 1 rufiyaa (MVR), consisting of 100 laari

Natural resources: Fish


The people

Ethnic: South Indian, Sinhalese, Arab

Language: Divehi (dialect of Sinhala; official), English. The language is Divehi, an Indo-European language related to Sinhalese. The word atoll is derived from the Divehi word atholhu. English is also used in Government and commerce and other languages are used in the tourist industry.

Religion: Sunni Muslim Islam was introduced to the islands in the 12th century. Islam is the state religion and nearly all the people are Sunni Muslim.


The history

Independence: 26 July 1965 (from the United Kingdom)

Government: In 1887 the Maldives became a British protectorate administered from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In 1953 the islands converted from a monarchy to a Presidential republic. However, in 1965 the Maldives achieved independence as a sultanate and in 1968 the people voted to establish a second republic.

*Sri Lanka
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