Maldives. According to Countryaah, the capital of Maldives is Male. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who has ruled the Maldives since 1978, was re-elected in October for a new five-year term. According to a new constitution that came into force in January, it was for the first time allowed to register as a counter candidate. However, the Election Commission found all four challengers unsuitable to lead the country. Just over 90% of those who took part in the election supported Gayoom in the referendum that approved Parliament’s nomination of him. Amnesty International claimed that opponents of the president were arrested or threatened on Election Day.
- Abbreviationfinder: What does MDV stand for in geography? Here, this 3 letter acronym refers to the country of Maldives.
Gayoom promised to use his new term to accelerate the construction of an artificial island on the cramped main atoll Male. The new island of Hulhumale will be three times the size of Male and will accommodate 125,000 residents, nearly half of the country’s current population. As Hulhumale will be made higher than the natural atoll islands, it will be better protected against a higher sea level. Construction of the island began in October 1997.
MALDIVES. – The archipelago of the Indian Ocean, under British protectorate since 1887, gained independence on July 26, 1965, and was established in 1968 as a presidential republic. The island group includes about 2000 coral islands (only 220 are inhabited), distributed in a dozen atolls: for administrative purposes they are grouped into 19 districts. The total area is 298 km 2. In 1974 the population was 128,697. (103,800 at the 1967 census), mainly of Sinhalese origin, divided into two ethnic groups: one, widespread in the North, has predominantly Dravidian racial characteristics, acquired following the growing spread of marriages with Indian women; the other, concentrated mostly in the central area, denotes a marked influence of the Semitic element brought by the Arabs. The predominant religion has also become Muslim, although many ancient rites still survive: it also influences the social composition of the population, still divided, according to Muslim law, into three castes: noble, middle class and people. At the same time, alongside the Sinhalese dialect which serves as the official language, Arabic has spread in recent years.
The population of the M islands, which began only from 1791 by the French, has increased in recent decades by large numbers of settlers from the island of Mauritius, Africa and Ceylon. The high population density (418 residents / km 2) creates many problems in the state, among which food problems are of particular importance (the very poor diet is based on rice, totally imported, and on fishery products) and health care (there are many infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, leprosy, tetanus, filariasis, malaria).
From an economic point of view, the archipelago is affected by the persistence of archaic activities that are difficult to eradicate due to the scarce diffusion of the most advanced technologies. The main products of the soil are coconut palm (from which oil, copra, textile fibers are obtained) and tropical fruit (mango, cedar, papaya, pomegranate, banana).
Breeding is limited to goats and poultry.
Much more important is the exploitation of the resources of the sea and of the numerous lagoons: the Maldivians, very skilled sailors, have made fishing (bonito or Maldives fish) the basic product of their poor economy (27,900 t in 1975).
The atolls offer favorable conditions for both navigation and fishing, which is carried out on three different types of boats: the bokkura, small rowing boats, for two or three people, used only along the coastal lakes; the dhoni, larger, which can accommodate up to 10 fishermen, and the even larger bathali, intended for communication between the different atolls. 40% of the income from fishing goes to the owner of the boat and the rest to the crew.
Another economic source is tourism, of clear Scandinavian origin. The Crescent tourism agency, breaking the traditional hostility towards tourists, controls some small islands of the Male atoll and since 1972 the islet of Bandos, which are equipped with bungalows and similar infrastructures.
The trade is mainly carried out with neighboring Ceylon, with the export of fishing and handicraft products (lacquered vases, worked shells, mats) and with the import of rice and other basic necessities. The only city in the entire archipelago is the capital, Male (15,740 residents In 1974), a town built with a geometric plan with a wide median road, limited by buildings used as homes or offices, schools and humble mosques. In the other islands, the dense settlement in rural villages, on the edge of the forest, or fishing boats predominates.
The islands of Gan and Hulele are important British and US air bases.