Introducing the Island Paradise of Maldives
Imagine a chain of islands nestled in azure blue lagoons in the Indian Ocean, and each island surrounded by white sandy beaches. With tall palm trees and crystal clear waters glittering in the sunshine, there are no words that can explain the beauty of Maldives.
A paradise of about 1,200 islands spread over roughly 90,000 kilometers, with about 200 inhabited islands and a population reaching only 400,000 people, Maldives has about one percent of land. Grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls formed by prehistoric volcanoes, Maldives is the lowest lying country in the world. Maldives is a peaceful nation with a united and moderate religion.
Located in the Laccadive Sea, about seven hundred kilometers south-west of Sri Lanka and south-west of India, Maldives has a tropically warm climate. With the heat buffering effects of the Indian Ocean the temperature of Maldives ranges from 24 to 31 degree centigrade.
With two seasons, the southwest monsoon or the wet season, and the northeast monsoon or the dry season, the average annual rainfall throughout the country lies between 1,500 and 2,500 millimeters.
Home to a wide variety of marine life and ecosystems the Maldives is famed for its magnificent coral reefs full of over 2,000 species of fish. While some species await description, seven species of fish have been noted as new to science.
While over 200 coral species have been recorded from the Maldives, representing over 60 genera of turtles, echinoderms, sea grasses, alga, sponges, crustaceans, and tunicates, the full extent of marine life has not yet been recorded. Coral reefs that were bleached due to the El-Nino effect of 1998, have recovered swiftly, bringing back the beautiful colors of the Maldivian reefs.
Estimates show that the Maldives have been populated since 1500 BC, by explorers from India and Sri Lanka. Maldives converted to Islam around 1152. The ancient Portuguese, mesmerized by the beauty of the islands and the importance of the location, took over and ruled the peaceful nation for a brief period of time from 1558 to 1573.
After the Portuguese were driven away by a local leader named Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al-Azam and his two brothers who organized a popular revolt, the islands were brought under British protectorate in 1887. In 1965 the Maldives regained its independent status and became the Republic of Maldives.
So far Maldives has had two republics and four presidents. The first and only president of the first and short lived republic was President Mohamed Amin Didi, who became president after a long history of monarchy. Monarchy was reestablished by the people after the presidency of President Mohamed Amin Didi. However the monarchy was short lived and replaced by the second republic.
The first president of the second republic who reigned for 10 years was President Ibrahim Nasir. President Maumoon Abdul Gayooms presidency lasted for 30 years, the longest in Maldives history, and was defeated and succeeded in 2008 elections by now President Mohamed Nasheed.
In 2006 Maldives made a scuba diving record for the largest number of scuba divers participating in one dive. During the dive a total of 958 divers descended into the water at the same time. Maldives is also the first country to hold a cabinet meeting underwater, chaired by President Mohamed Nasheed. Thus far Maldives has been successful in its efforts to become a carbon neutral country, and is widely supported by all Maldivians.
Being hidden locked away in the secrecy of the ocean; Maldives was largely terra incognita for tourists until the early 1970s. Sprinkled across the equator in the Indian Ocean, possessing a truly unique geography, Maldives is fragmented into an archipelago. With the first tourist resorts, Bandos island resort and Kurumba Village, opened in 1972, the Maldivian economy was largely transformed rapidly moving the dependence on the fisheries sector to the tourism sector.
Tourism is also the single largest contributor to its GDP and earns the country its largest share of foreign currencies. The number of resorts and their services has increased tremendously, promoting the Maldives to a must visit destination to all travelers and tourists.
Obvious when you look at the tiny islands from a distance, Maldives is only a few meters above the water level and must play its part in protecting the naturally beautiful tropical islands scattered through the Indian Ocean. Indeed a paradise Maldives is a haven for water sports enthusiasts that desire the crystal clear waters and the powder sandy beaches and for those who wish to spend a most private vacation within the thick foliage of the secluded islands of Maldives.