20 Interesting Facts About Maldives

  1. The Maldives is a small island country in South Asia. It is the smallest and least populous country in Asia and the world’s 9th smallest country by land area. 
  2. The Maldives consists of around 1,200 coral islands, while the number of inhabited islands is around 200. It makes it one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries.
  3. The Maldives organized the world’s first underwater cabinet meeting in 2009. The purpose of this meeting was to highlight the dangers faced by the Maldives due to global warming. (Source)
  4. In 2018, Maldives opened the world’s first underwater hotel residence. This two-story villa is 16 feet below the Indian Ocean. (Source)
  5. Cowry shell was the first currency used in the Maldives. It was also used as a currency in Africa and parts of Oceania, Asia, and Europe.
  6. The Maldives is the flattest country on earth. 80% land area of Maldives is around 1 meter above sea level. According to estimates, Maldives will lose approximately 77% of its land to rising sea levels by 2100. (Source)
  7. The Maldives has the lowest average elevation in the world. The highest natural point in the Maldives is less than 8 feet above sea level. The 6 feet average elevation in the Maldives is 15 times lower than the 92 feet elevation of the world’s 2nd lowest country, Qatar. (Source
    An island in Maldives
    Maldives has the lowest average elevation in the world

  8. The Maldives has one of the world’s most beautiful white-sand beaches. The tropical island of Baros Maldives is unique as the clear water makes the sand look even whiter. It is just a few minutes away from the Maldives International Airport. (Source)
  9. The Maldives is one of thirteen countries that lie on the equator. Maldives and Kiribati are the only two countries where the equator passes through the water in these countries without contacting the landmass. (Source)
  10. According to estimates, Buddhist people from India and Sri Lanka were the initial settlers of the Maldives in the 5th Century BCE.
  11. Islam became the main religion of the local population in the 12th Century. Islam is the state religion of the Maldives, where almost 100% population is Sunni Muslim. Non-Muslims can’t get citizenship of Maldives. (Source)
  12. The Portuguese captured the Maldives in 1558. But the local people drove the Portuguese out in 1573. The Maldives celebrate the day of victory against the Portuguese as the National Day. The timing of this day is according to the Islamic calendar.
  13. The Maldives became a British protectorate in 1887. It gained independence from the UK in 1965 and became a republic in 1968 after abandoning centuries of monarchy.
  14. The Maldives has the highest divorce rate in the world. It is almost 11 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants per year, which is far more than any other country. (Source)
  15. 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami devastated the Maldives. Almost the entire country came underwater, and the water took 5 minutes to retreat. The authorities evacuated 13 islands, while most of the others faced disrupted electricity, telephone, and drinking water supply. The tsunami destroyed two decades of development in the Maldives.
  16. In 1997/98, El Nino destroyed more than 90% of reef coverage in the Maldives. That El Nino caused the worst damage to corals in recorded history and destroyed 16% of the world’s coral. (Source)
  17. Male, Maldives capital, is built on a reef. Cracks in this reef have endangered the collapse of the city. Construction of high structures, use of dynamite, and pollution are the main reasons behind these cracks. (Source)
  18. The Maldives is the smallest and the least populated Muslim-majority country in the world. Its total land area is 298 km2 (115 sq. miles). 
  19. Sun Island Resort is the largest resort in the Maldives. There are 462 rooms available for tourists in this resort. At least 50 resorts in the Maldives provide more than 100 rooms that can accommodate a large number of tourists.
  20. South Ari Atoll in the Maldives is one of few places in the world where whale shark is present year-round.


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