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MALDIVES

The name MALDIVES may derive from Mahal'deeb, and the people were
called Maldivian. The word Dheeb/Deeb (archaic Dhivehi, related to Sanskrit
means "island" and Dhives (Dhivehin) means "islanders" (in other words, the
Maldivians).

The atolls of the 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)

CLIMATE

The Maldives' equatorial climate is generally hot and humid, with a mean
temperature of about 27° C (81° F ). The weather during the northeast
monsoon (November–March) is mild and pleasant; the southwest monsoon
(June–August) is violent and very rainy. The northern atolls are subject to
more violent storms than those in the south. Annual rainfall in the south
averages about 380 cm (150 in); in the north, 250 cm (100 in).

FAUNA and FLORA

The islands are covered with a dense scrub. The northern and southern
islands are more fertile than those in the central group, and the eastern
islands generally are more fertile than the western. Coconut, breadfruit,
plantain, papaya, mango, and banyan trees flourish. Shrubs and flowers are
widespread. Rats, rabbits, and flying foxes are the only indigenous mammals.
Birds include ducks, bitterns, crows, curlews, snipes, and various sea birds.
Small scorpions, beetles, and land crabs are common. Inland lagoons and
coastal reefs contain tropical ocean fish, crustaceans, and turtles; the
surrounding waters contain sharks, swordfish, and porpoises.

AGRICULTURE

Only 10% of the land is estimated to be cultivable. Millet, corn, pumpkins,


sweet potatoes, pineapples, sugarcane, almonds, and many kinds of tropical
vegetables and fruits are successfully grown, largely in homestead gardens.
Coconut palms provide copra and coir, the most important exports after fish.
Virtually all rice, a staple food for the population, must be imported.
Breadfruit, mangoes, papayas, limes, bananas, pumpkins, watermelon, taro,
and chili peppers are also valuable crops. As of 1999, small amounts of corn,
millet, and sorghum were cultivated. Production in 1999 included 12,000 tons
of coconuts and 2,000 tons of copra.

LANDFORMS OF THE MALDIVE

A G K cont.

• Addu Kandu • Geydhoshu Kandu • Kudahuvadhoo


• Alihuras Kandu Kandu
• Ariadhoo Kandu H
M
B • Hani Kandu
• Huvadhu Kandu • Maliku Kandu
• Baraveli Kandu • Mulah Kandu
I
D V
• Ihavandhoo Kandu
• Dheburidheytherey • Vaadhoo Kandu
Kandu K • Vattaru-dhekunu
Kandu
F • Kaashidhoo Bodu • Vattaru-uthuru
Kandu Kandu
• Fulidhoo Kandu • Kaashidhoo Kuda
Kandu • Veymandoo Kandu
• Fushi Kandu
• Kardiva Channel

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