Maldives Facts

Maldives Facts for Kids

Here are some interesting Maldives facts which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids.

Maldives flag
  • Population: roughly 550,000 people (2021)
  • Capital: Malé with about 200,000 inhabitants
  • Name: Republic of Maldives. The name comes from the city of Malé and refers to the islands of Malé.
  • Government: Presidential Republic
  • Language: Dhivehi
  • Religion: predominantly Muslim 
  • Currency: 1 Maldivian rufiyaa = 100 laari
  • National Day: 26 July
  • National Symbols: yellowfin tuna, coconut palm
  • National Colours: red, green and white
  • History: The atolls in the Maldives are populated for over 2,500 years as mentioned in ancient Tamil writing. Buddhist faith was dominant on the islands until the 12th century after this the population converted to Islam. From the 15th century the Maldives was first colonised by the Portuguese and later the British. In 1965, Maldives gained independence from the UK.

Maldives Facts | Geography

The Maldives is a country in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives belongs to the Asian continent and is located to the south of India or to the southwest of Sri Lanka. This is the smallest country on the Asian continent.

On the map you can see the neighbouring countries and the location of the Maldives islands.

Maldives Map

The Maldives is a chain of 26 coral atolls. There are 1,200 small islands in the Maldives, of these only about 200 are inhabited. Only about 30 islands are home to more than 1,000 people. Only nine islands are larger than 2 square km/ 1 square mile! 

Aerial of Maldives from an airplaneThe Maldives as seen from an airplane

The country covers an area of about 90,000 sq km/ 36,000 sq miles in the Indian Ocean but only 1% of the area is land area!

The capital city is called Malé and located on the North Male atoll.

Malé in the Maldives - aerialMalé

Maldives Geography

  • The Maldives are located on the central part of a submerged ocean mountain range called Laccadive-Chagos Ridge that is about 300 m/ 985 ft deep.
  • The Maldives are home to the largest atoll in the world. Huvadhu has a lagoon of 112 km/ 69 miles in diameter and a depth of 86 m/ 282 ft.
  • Felidhu is the most sparsely populated atoll with about 1,500 people on five islands. 
  • There are no rivers in the Maldives and no hills, the highest points of the Maldives islands are about 15 ft above sea level. 
  • There are only two small freshwater lake on Foammulaku atoll.
  • The northernmost atoll is North Thiladhunmathi about 26 km north of Male and the southernmost atoll is called Addu and lies about 500 km south of Male.

Maldives Facts
Attractions and Landmarks

Islamic Centre in Male

Maldives Islamic centre and mosque in MaléIslamic centre and mosque in Malé

The building with a gold dome and houses the Grand Friday Mosque which can accommodate 5,000 people, an Islamic library and classrooms. This landmark in Malé is one of the largest mosques in South Asia.

Male Friday Mosque

Maldives Friday Mosque complexFriday Mosque complex

This mosque also referred to as Hukuru Miskiiy is the oldest mosque of the country and was built in 1656. The mosque was built with coral stones and the coral carvings are unique. There are still the old tomb stones and some well preserved buildings.

Mulee Aage - Presidential Palace

Maldives Presidential Palace - image by Ehab Othman/shutterstockMaldives Presidential Palace - image by Ehab Othman

The Presidential Palast of the Maldives was built earlier last century and today is the official residence of the president.

Maldives Economy | Maldives Facts

The currency of the Maldives is the rufiyaa. The coins are called laari.

The main industries of the Maldives are fishing, shipping and boat building, sand and coral mining and tourism. Almost 2 million tourists visit the Maldives per year. 

Tourism is big in the Maldives

Maldives Facts | Maldives People 

About one third of the people live in the capital city Malé or in urban areas of the 200 inhabited islands. About 1,000 islands of the archipelago are not inhabited.

Malé is not only the most populous city of the Maldives, but also one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Addu City in the south, is the second biggest city.

The national language is Dhivehi, a language in Arabic script but derives from the Sinhala language spoken in Sri Lanka. The language is written from right to left. English is spoken widely and the main language in many communities especially in the tourism sector.

Maldives Facts
Maldives Animals

The Maldives have a very rich marine life, but there are few land animals. The coral reefs and sea animals are plentiful. In the Maldives you can snorkel among turtles. 

Turtle in clear Maldives watersTurtle in clear ocean waters of the Maldives

There are flying foxes and fruit bats, cats and goats and some reptiles such as geckos, lizards and non-poisonous snakes. Dogs are not allowed on the Maldives. 

Food in the Maldives | Maldives Facts

The main diet of the Maldives includes fish, rice and coconuts. Fish is served with all meals even breakfast. Breadfruit, taro and bananas are common in meals.

Typical Maldivian food are:

  • Garudiya: often considered the national dish of the Maldives made with fish , rice, lime, green chilli and onions.
  • Mas huni: fish made with grated coconut, onion and chilli
  • Roshi: flatbread made with shredded coconut and flour and baked on tin sheets over open fire
  • Kandu kukulu: fish curry

Maldives Facts: Resources

Source for Maldives Facts page:

  • Central Intelligence Agency. "Maldives". WorldFactbook. 29 June 2021. Last accessed 21 July 2021

Image Credits on Maldives Facts: Oscar Espinosa/ and other photo stock from shutterstock and wikicommons, if not otherwise stated.

We hope you enjoyed reading our Maldives Facts. Please bookmark this page and spread the word. We will add more information in the near future as we still have to sort through our images and stories from our recent travels.

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