The Maldives: Location and Interesting Facts
Officially known as the Republic of Maldives, the tropical nation is made up of a chain of about 1,192 coral islands in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is located southwest of Sri Lanka and has a population of nearly 3.6 million. The country is famous for its white sand beaches, pristine lagoons, crystal clear water, and extensive coral reefs. The capital, Male, is characterized by busy fish markets, restaurants, and tourist hotels. Here are interesting facts about the Maldives.
Underwater Cabinet Meeting
As a result of climate change, sea levels are rising, which pose serious threats to many island countries such as the Maldives. To draw attention to the effects of global warming and climate change, the Maldive's President Mohamed Nasheed held his country’s cabinet meeting under water in October 2009. The president, along with his cabinet, adorned diving gear and held a meeting under water in order to increase awareness about the threats chain of islands are facing as a result of rising sea levels. The event also raised awareness about sustainable projects that the president planned to introduce as a means of reducing the country’s carbon footprint. These projects included sustainable tourism, as well as eco-friendly resorts and clean energy.
For generations, the Maldives has been of great economic significance due to its strategic placement along important trade routes. The first inhabitants of the island came from India around 270 BC. It is believed that the first real form of governance was established in Maldives by Sri Soorudasaruna Adeettiya, a prince from an Indian kingdom. Legends claim that the king was so angry at his son that he deported him to the Maldives, which was then referred to as Dheeva Maari. Upon settling, the prince established the Adeetta Dynasty or the Solar Dynasty in the Maldives. It is reported that this dynasty came to an end when its princess married a prince from the Lunar Dynasty of Kalinga.
The Maldives Is 99 Percent Water
The Maldives includes more than 1,190 coral islands, which make up 26 atolls. Of these, only 200 are inhabited. The Archipelago enjoys beautiful location along the main Indian Ocean sea routes. The 26 Maldives atolls are part of a larger structure referred to as the Laccadives-Chagos Ridge, which stretches over 2,000 km.
Lowest Flat Nation in the World
The average ground level of the Maldives is 4 feet, or 1.5 meters above sea level. The highest point is in the Villingili Island at 7.5 feet. In the wake of climate change and the rising sea level, there are concerns the Maldives will flood and sink.
World’s Smallest Muslim Country
Besides being the smallest country in Asia, the Maldives is also the world’s smallest Muslim country. It is also one of the most religious intolerant countries in the world. The Maldives constitution, which was written in 1997, requires all citizens to be Muslim, and outrightly forbids Maldivians from following any other religion.