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( /ˈmɒldaɪvz/ (help·info) or /ˈmɒldiːvz/), Hindi: मालदीव (Dhivehi
: ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ Dhivehi Raaj
) or Maldive Islands
, officially Republic of Maldives
, is an island country in the Indian Ocean
formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls stretching along north-south direction off India
islands, between Minicoy Island
and Chagos Archipelago
. It stands in the Laccadive Sea
, about seven hundred kilometres (435 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka
The atolls of Maldives
encompass a territory spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometers, making it one of the most disparate countries in the world. It features 1,192
islets, of which two hundred islands are inhabited. The Republic of Maldives
capital and largest city is Malé
, with a population of 103,693 (2006
). It is located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll
, in the Kaafu Atoll
. It is also one of the Administrative divisions of the Maldives
. Traditionally it was the King's Island
, from where the ancient Maldive Royal
dynasties ruled and where the palace was located.
The original inhabitants of the Maldives were Buddhist, probably since Ashoka
's period, in the 300
BC. Islam in Maldives
was introduced in 1153 and has remained dominant since, being the smallest predominantly Muslim nation in the world. During the period of European
exploration and colonialism, the Maldives came under the influence of the Portuguese
in 1558 and the Dutch
in 1654. In 1887 the islands became a British protectorate
. In 1965
the country obtained independence from Britain
under the name "Maldive Islands". Three years later the reigning Islamic Sultanate was replaced by a quasi-Islamic presidential Republic
; in 2008, submission to the Islamic faith
became a legal requirement for citizens.
The Maldives is the smallest Asian
country in both population and area; With an average ground level of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, it is the lowest country on the planet. It is also the country with the lowest highest point
in the world, at 2.3 metres (7 ft 7 in).
The Indian Ocean
has a great effect on the climate of the country by acting as a heat buffer, absorbing, storing, and slowly releasing the tropical heat. The temperature of Maldives ranges between 24 and 33 °C throughout the year. Although the humidity is relatively high, the constant cool sea breezes keep the air moving and the heat mitigated.
in the Maldives is affected by the large landmass of the South Asia
to the north. The presence of this landmass causes differential heating of land and water. These factors set off a rush of moisture-rich air from the Indian Ocean over the South Asia, resulting in the southwest monsoon. Two seasons dominate Maldives' weather: the dry season associated with the winter northeast monsoon and the rainy season brought by the summer southwest monsoon. In Maldives, the wet southwest monsoon lasts from the end of April to the end of October and brings strong winds and storms. The shift from the moist southwest monsoon to the dry northeast monsoon occurs during October and November. During this period, the northeast winds contribute to the formation of the northeast monsoon, which reaches Maldives in the beginning of December and lasts until the end of March. However, the weather patterns of Maldives do not always conform to the monsoon patterns of the South Asia. The annual rainfall averages 2,540 millimeters in the north and 3,810 millimeters in the south.
- published: 14 Oct 2009
- views: 1203