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MaldivesThe name Maldives, which is the Anglicized version of the local name, which likely comes from the Sanskrit words mala, which means "garland" and the word dvipa, which means "island." The name may also derive from the Sinhalese words maala divaina, which means "necklace islands."



The way of life in the Maldives is intimately tied to the ocean as the entire country hardly keeps its head above water. The people, their culture, and their lifestyle revolve around the water and what it provides. Most people get their food from the ocean, live near the ocean, and are susceptible to the ocean and its fury. For most people this means life is simple as the people remain reliant on the lands and seas.

Today there have been few changes in the culture or lifestyle of the Maldives. In fact there have only been two large changes that have substantially altered the way of life on the islands: the introduction of Islam and tourism. While Islam has truly affected nearly every citizen, tourism has only made a substantial impact on the lifestyle of a small number of people, although this industry's influence is continuous growing and makes a substantial secondary impact on nearly everyone.

With the introduction of Islam in the 1100s the people changed their lifestyles to match that required by this new religion, which arrived from traders. This slightly changed the diet and influenced many other social habits of the people. Even today most of the people follow Islamic laws to some degree as social interactions, diet, and daily schedule are all effected by this religion to some degree.

The second major change to the way of life in the Maldives came with tourism. This change doesn't affect the majority of people directly, but its presence alters the entire dynamic and economy on the islands. With this industry, the number of service jobs has risen sharply and the standards of living have risen as money floods into the country. Tourism is also slowly changing the people's mindset on numerous issues as liberal thoughts are regularly brought in with tourists.

For the average person there is little notice of these changes, but the government has more money so infrastructure, education, healthcare, and other government-financed sectors are expanding. Even for the people not working directly with tourists, many occupations are in higher demand to provide for the tourists as incomes rise and the country is slowly becoming wealthier and better educated.

Centered on the flag of the Maldives is a crescent moon, which is a common symbol for Islam; the religion of most people in the country. The red on the flag represents those who sacrificed their lives in defense of the country, while green symbolizes peace and prosperity.

Name: Republic of Maldives
Independence: July 26, 1965
Capital: Male
Currency: Rufiyaa
Population: 393,988 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: South Indians, Sinhalese, & Arabs
Language: Dhivehi
Religion: Sunni Muslim

Information for the Maldives was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks