About MalidvesThis is a short summary of valuable information about Maldives gathered from www.wikipedia.org
The Maldives (Locally called Dhivehi Raa'je) 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 in a north-south direction off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and Chagos Archipelago. It stands in the Laccadive Sea, about seven hundred kilometres (435 miles) 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 are inhabited. The Republic of Maldives's 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 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 Maldives consists of approximately 1,190 coral islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls, along the north-south direction, spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometers, making this one of the most disparate countries in the world. The atolls are composed of live coral reefs and sand bars, situated atop a submarine ridge 960 kilometers long that rises abruptly from the depths of the Indian Ocean and runs from north to south. Only near the southern end of this natural coral barricade do two open passages permit safe ship navigation from one side of the Indian Ocean to the other through the territorial waters of Maldives. For administrative purposes the Maldives government organized these atolls into twenty one administrative divisions. The largest island of Maldives is Gan, which belongs to Laamu Atoll or Hahdhummathi Maldives. In Addu Atoll the westernmost islands are connected by roads over the reef and the total length of the road is 14 km (9 miles).
The Maldives is the lowest country in the world, with a maximum natural ground level of only 2.3 metres (7 ft 7 in), with the average being only 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, although in areas where construction exists, this has been increased to several metres. The reef is composed of coral debris and living coral. This acts as a natural barrier against the sea, forming lagoons. Other islands set at a distance and parallel to the reef, have their own protective fringe of reef. An opening in the surrounding coral barrier allows access to the calmer lagoon waters. The barrier reefs of the islands protect them from the storms and high waves of the Indian Ocean.
A layer of humus 15 centimetres (6 in) thick forms the top layer of soil on the islands. Below the humus layer are 60 centimetres (2 ft) of sandstone, followed by sand and then fresh water. Due to high levels of salt in the soil near the beach, vegetation is limited there to a few plants such as shrubs, flowering plants, and small hedges. In the interior of the island, more vegetation such as mangrove and banyan grow. Coconut palms, the national tree, are able to grow almost everywhere on the islands and are integral to the lifestyle of the population.
The limited vegetation and land wildlife is supplemented by the abundance of marine life. The waters around the Maldives are abundant in rare species of biological and commercial value, with tuna fisheries being traditionally one of the main commercial resources of the country. The Maldives have an amazing diversity of sea life, with corals and over 2,000 species of fish, ranging from reef fish to reef sharks, moray eels, and a wide variety of rays: Manta rays; Stingray; and Eagle ray. The Maldivian waters are also home for the whale shark.
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 °C (75 °F) and 33 °C (91 °F) throughout the year. Although the humidity is relatively high, the constant cool sea breezes keep the air moving and the heat mitigated.
The agreement giving the Maldives full political independence was signed on behalf of His Majesty the Sultan by Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyri Kilegefan, Prime Minister and on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen by Sir Michael Walker British Ambassador designate to the Maldive Islands. The Ceremony took place at the British High Commissioner's Residence in Colombo on 26 July 1965. After independence from Britain in 1965, the sultanate continued to operate for another three years under King Muhammad Fareed Didi. On 11 November 1968, the monarchy was abolished and replaced by a republic under the presidency of Ibrahim Nasir, although this was a cosmetic change without any significant alteration in the structures of government. The official name of the country was changed from Maldive Islands to the Maldives. Tourism began to be developed on the archipelago by the beginning of the 1970s.