Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
|Republic of Maldives|
|Form of government||republic|
|Government system||Presidential system|
|Head of state , also head of government||
Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
|population||409.163 (as of 2015)|
|Population density||1,102 ( 7th ) inhabitants per km²|
gross domestic product
|Human Development Index||0.701 ( 105th ) (2016)|
|independence||July 26, 1965
(from the UK )
Gavmii mi ekuverikan matii tibegen kuriime salaam
|Time zone||UTC + 5|
|ISO 3166||MV , MDV, 462|
The Maldives ([ maleˈdiːvn̩ ], officially the Republic of Maldives , Dhivehi ދިވެހިރާއްޖޭގެ ޖުމްހޫރިއްޔާ, Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa ) are an island nation in the Indian Ocean southwest of Sri Lanka . The archipelago consists of several atolls and 1,196 islands, 220 of which are inhabited by locals and another 144 are used for tourist purposes. The state is a founding member of SAARC ( South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ).
The island nation has become an increasingly popular tourist destination in recent years, which has brought increasing prosperity to the country's residents, but at the same time has caused ecological and social problems.
The Maldives are a chain (the name "Maldives" means "chain of islands", see Mala ) of 19 archipelagos in the Indian Ocean , southwest of India and Sri Lanka . They extend over 871 kilometers in north-south direction to just south of the equator . The islands are spread over 26 atolls with coral reefs . Like the Laccadives , they lie on the Maldivian ridge. This is seen as the tipped and sunken marginal clod of the Indian land mass. The Maldives are not, like Hawaii , volcanicOrigin. In total, only 220 of the 1196 islands are inhabited. The islands are all around 1 meter above sea level , which makes them particularly vulnerable to the steadily rising sea level. The highest point with 2.4 meters is on the island of Vilingilli in the Addu Atoll.
The nearby reefs offer the only protection from the sometimes violent monsoon storms . The islands are overgrown with palm trees and breadfruit trees and surrounded by sandy beaches and clear lagoons .
The Maldives can be divided into islands for locals ( local islands ) and islands for tourists (such as Kuramathi , Bandos , Vabbinfaru or Meerufenfushi ). Maldivians are only allowed as staff on the tourist islands. Since 2009 it has been possible for tourists to also vacation on local islands.
A third of the Maldivian population lives on the main island of Malé , which is also the only real city in the Maldives. Malé is one of the most densely populated cities in the world: on just 5.7 square kilometers, multi-storey houses stand densely packed to accommodate over 134,000 people. For this reason, the planning of an island to be built by reclamation began in 1997 about three kilometers away from Malé. The new island of Hulhumalé should offer around 60,000 people space to live and work after the first construction phase has been completed.
In the mostly calm Indian Ocean, the Maldives have a constantly warm, tropical climate with high humidity. Temperatures rarely drop below 25 ° C, even at night.
The south-west monsoons from May to October and the north-east monsoons from November to April are characteristic of the climate. The southwest monsoons usually bring wind and more intense rainfall in June and July. The months of January to April are considered the best travel time.
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Male
A high birth rate ensured that the population of the Maldives rose from approx. 74,000 in 1950 to over 400,000 in 2015, which placed a heavy burden on the country's limited resources and caused a great lack of space. With the increasing prosperity of the last few decades, however, the fertility rate fell considerably from an average of 7.5 children per woman in 1980 to just 2.2 children in 2015. The average life expectancy in 2015 was 76.3 years (women: 77.4 years, men : 75.4 years). According to UN figures, life expectancy in the Maldives has more than doubled since 1955, when it was less than 35 years.
The Maldivian language, Dhivehi , is derived from medieval Sinhala , but is now completely independent. It is the only official language in the country, but recently the Arabic language has been gaining importance. Dhivehi is written from right to left in the Thaana script , and the Latin transcription (“Dhivehi Letin”) is also used.
Islam is the sole state religion . Freedom of religion is expressly excluded: The public practice of any other religion is prohibited and subject to criminal prosecution. The Muslim creed has been a condition for Maldivian citizenship since the Constitutional Council passed a constitutional amendment in December 2007 (Article 9 (D) of the new constitution). On the current world persecution index of the Christian aid organization Open Doors , the Maldives are in 13th place (as of 2018).
The literacy rate is 99%. On every small island there are schools where children from the age of six learn to read and write English and Dhivehi, plus the Arabic script so that they can recite the Koran .
The only schools in which you can obtain higher education entrance qualifications are in Malé. The educational system is increasingly oriented towards the Arab world , with Islam as the main subject .
There are two hospitals in the capital Malé, one private (ADK) and one public (IGMH). Both hospitals are relatively well equipped. However, more complicated surgical treatments cannot be performed there. Many Maldivians therefore prefer treatment in India, provided they have the necessary financial means.
The medical care and care of the population on the smaller islands is largely based on traditional treatment methods and is only inadequate due to the highly centralized infrastructure. Some islands have pharmacies and "medical centers", but in very few cases they are manned by doctors. The island of Bandos in the North Malé Atoll, however, has two doctors permanently on duty: a GP (General Practitioner) and a DMO (Diving Medical Officer). The latter is responsible for the decompression chamber on Bandos, in which diving accidents can be treated. As a rule, both posts are filled with doctors from German-speaking countries. The same applies to the islands of Kuramathi (Rasdhoo Atoll), Villingili (Addu Atoll), Kuredu (Lhaviyani Atoll) and Kandima (Dhaalu Atoll).
Until today, only contradicting information can be found in the scientific literature about the first settlement of the Maldives. One theory says that the settlement of the Maldives began in the 5th century BC. Chr. Took, when Buddhist fishermen from India and from the island of Ceylon on the islands settled. According to the archaeological investigations by Thor Heyerdahl from 1985, there are not only Buddhist temples but also references to Hindu beliefs and sun worship cults. Heyerdahl believed that these religions existed in parallel for a period of time.
According to legend, the Maldives were converted to Islam in 1153 by an Arab traveler. The Maldives was ruled by both sultans and a multitude of sultanas. The most famous of these was the sultana Khadeeja Rehendi Kabaidhi Kilege, who ruled the country for 35 years in the 14th century. Even today women play a major role in public life in the Maldives. Half of the students, many business people, civil servants and ministers are women. However, the matriarchal influence is nowhere near as pronounced as that of the Muslim Minangkabau on Sumatra.
In 1558 the Portuguese occupied the islands, but they were driven out again by Muhammad Thakurufaan in 1573 in an eight-year guerrilla war . It was not until the 17th century that a European country succeeded in subjugating the islands: the Netherlands made the Maldivian sultanate a protectorate after they had also occupied Ceylon. When the Netherlands lost Ceylon to the British in 1796, the Maldives also came under British influence, so that they were a British protectorate from 1887 to 1965. Active and passive women's suffrage was granted under the colonial administration in 1932.
In 1932, the Maldives received its first constitution from Sultan Mohammed Shamsudeen III.
In 1942, the United Kingdom built a military airfield on the island of Gan , which was not cleared by the Royal Air Force until the late 1970s . In 1953 the republic was proclaimed. Then a relative of the sultan took over the presidency. After a referendum , the sultanate was reinstated and Mohammed Farid Didi became sultan again. Three years later, in 1956, the Maldives received internal autonomy , but the British built additional military airfields. In 1963, Great Britain gave up the islands, but retained the right to use the military airfields. The Maldives entered the Colombo Plan and became independent two years later.
With independence in 1965, the active and passive right to vote for women was confirmed.
With a constitutional amendment, the sultanate was transformed into a republic in 1968 and the 250-year rule of the Didi ended. Ibrahim Nasir became head of state and government. A year later the republic was proclaimed under the name Maldives.
In 1972 the offices of head of state and head of government were separated. In the same year the country opened - slowly at first - to tourism. Three years later the office of head of government was abolished and taken over by the president. In 1976 the British left the country for good, as the 30-year period of use of the military airfields had expired. In 1982 the Maldives joined the Commonwealth of Nations . In 1989 an international conference was held in the capital Malé because of the threat to the islands from rising sea levels.
From 1978 to 2008 President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom ruled the country with authoritarian hands. Freedom of expression, freedom of the press and civil rights were severely restricted, which was met with international criticism. Mass demonstrations broke out in September 2003 after three inmates died in prison under unexplained circumstances. President Gayoom promised reforms, the legal system should be changed and the powers of parliament expanded. On September 25, 2003, parliament unanimously voted him a presidential candidate, and two months later he was elected for the sixth time with 90.3% of the vote.
A state of emergency was declared in the Maldives in mid-August 2004. According to opposition figures, hundreds of people were jailed after demonstrations against the president's regime. On December 26, 2004, numerous settlements and tourist resorts on the islands were severely damaged or destroyed by a tidal wave as a result of the seaquake in the Indian Ocean . Unlike the flat coasts of Sri Lanka , Indonesia or India , where tsunamis are more devastating, most atolls have been spared major devastation.
In the first democratic multi-party election in 2008, Mohamed Nasheed was elected as the new president. He resigned in 2012 following public protests and a police mutiny. Nasheed's vice-president Mohammed Waheed Hassan continued to act on a provisional basis until 2013. In the 2013 presidential election , Abdulla Yameen , a younger half-brother of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was elected as the new president.
The Maldives left the Commonwealth of Nations in October 2016 following criticism of the rule of law and human rights regulations by the confederation of states.
In 2015, Gayoom's successor, Nasheed, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for "terrorism" but remained in exile in the UK after a trip to London for medical treatment. In early February 2018, Yameen declared a state of emergency and arrested his half-brother, 80-year-old ex-President Gayoom, his son-in-law and two judges. The crisis was triggered by a court ruling that allowed twelve MPs who had fallen away from the ruling party to return to parliament. Yameen would have lost the majority in parliament, but he refuses to implement the court decisions.
On October 28, 2008, the reformer Mohamed Nasheed was elected the first democratically legitimized president. Protests broke out in early 2012 over the arrest of the Chief Justice of the Criminal Court, Abdulla Mohamed , and the Supreme Court called for him to be released from military custody. The judge was charged with misconduct and undue preferential treatment of opposition officials after ordering the release of a government critic. On February 6, 2012, there was an attempted coup against the president. Police mutineers and demonstrators had occupied the state radio. Nasheed then announced his resignation in a televised address. According to a government spokesman, his deputy will be Mohammed Waheed Hassantemporarily take over the official business. Presidential elections were scheduled for September 2013 according to the Maldivian constitution. Despite information to the contrary, the election was declared rigged. The elections, which were rescheduled for October 20, 2013, were prevented by the police on the day of the election. The runoff election was repeatedly postponed. Finally, a new election took place on November 9, 2013. On November 16, 2013, Abdulla Yameen was declared president after the votes were counted.
Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (1978–2008) and previous President Mohamed Nasheed, who had fled into exile, formed an alliance in 2017 to run against Abdulla Yameen in the next elections, in which they have good prospects of success. The Supreme Court also ruled that several MPs who had fallen out of favor at Yameen must be reinstated. Yameen ignored the order, declared a state of emergency on February 5, 2018 and had Gayoom arrested. The opposition turned to India to restore order. Yameen, on the other hand, is considered a business partner of the People's Republic of China .
In January 1998 a new constitution came into force. The form of government remained the presidential republic. The president and head of government have unlimited power over the executive . He is elected for five years by a unicameral parliament, the Majilis . The Majilis consists of 50 members, 42 of whom are elected and eight are appointed by the President. After the election, the president has to face a referendum.
The Maldives is a presidential republic with considerable influence from the president: he is the head of government and defense minister; until 2006 he was also responsible for the central bank and finances. He leads the police, army, coast guard, fire department and judiciary. A separation of powers does not exist. The presidential elections take place every five years; the people elect one of the two candidates nominated by parliament for president with a simple majority. The current incumbent is Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who was elected on September 23, 2018.
Mohamed Nasheed has been head of state since the new elections in October 2008 and the departure of the previous incumbent Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on November 10, 2008. Gayoom was president since 1978, making it the longest-serving head of state in Asia. In his six victorious presidential elections, he was sometimes the only candidate for office, and in 2007, without consulting his DRP party, he named himself a presidential candidate for the upcoming elections. Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is also involved in vacation resorts.
In the Maldives, an opposition that has been permitted since 1998 has de facto only existed since 2005.
In June 2005 the members of the Majilis voted unanimously in favor of a motion that would enable the establishment of a multi-party system.
Since then, President Gayoom has tolerated five parties : his own, all-dominating DRP, the Islamic AP, the small parties MSDP and IDP, and the democratic MDP ( Maldivian Democratic Party ). In particular, the members of the MDP, first and foremost its managing director at the time and Mohamed Nasheed, who was president until February 2012, were exposed to considerable repression and restrictions on their political work.
To this day, only Islam is accepted as a religion in the Maldives. On August 7, 2008, President Mohammed Abdul Gayoom issued a new constitution which, in Article 9, Paragraph d), prohibits non-Muslim citizens from being accepted as new citizens. However, this does not apply to people who were born in the Maldives and whose parents are already citizens, regardless of their religion.
Fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and expression are restricted; Peaceful demonstrators are also arrested in advance of and during political rallies. Freedom of religion is expressly excluded.
In July 2003, Amnesty International published a report on human rights abuses committed by President Gayoom's regime, accusing the latter of using torture. Detainees were beaten and kicked and had to endure handcuffed for hours in the sun. They would be denied lawyers in court.
There are still numerous political prisoners in Maldivian prisons. The editors of the independent Internet magazine “Sandhaan” have been sentenced to life imprisonment for high treason. Unwelcome politicians have been locked away, as have religious leaders and artists. At the same time, the former president converted former military buildings into prisons - on islands far away from the luxury hotels of tourists.
The Commonwealth of Nations threatened membership suspension in 2016 if the human rights situation did not improve. The Maldives government, complaining about the unfair treatment and interference in its internal affairs , announced the withdrawal.
On February 5, 2018, a state of emergency was declared by President Yameen. President Yameen refused to comply with the order of the Maldives Supreme Court calling for the release of eight detained opposition politicians and a retrial. In addition, the court is demanding the reinstatement of twelve members of parliament.
The Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) was formed from the National Security Service (NSS) in 2006 . It includes the Marine Corps , the Security Protection Group , the Corps of Engineers and a Coast Guard, which has both military and civilian tasks. The MNDF Air Wing has 2 HAL Dhruv helicopters donated by India.
The president of the country holds the supreme command. The headquarters of the MNDF is in Bandaara Koshi.
Every island used for tourism must operate its own waste incineration plant and its own seawater desalination plants . The electricity required for this is generated almost exclusively with diesel generators. Metal and plastic waste from the capital Malé and some nearby islands are collected and dumped on the garbage island Thilafushi . Most of the islands "dispose of" their garbage in the sea. There is no facility to dispose of the used oil from the numerous boats or generators. The rubble from hotel buildings also mostly ends up in the sea.
In practice there is just as little environmental protection in the Maldives as there is environmental awareness. There are laws for environmental protection on paper, but compliance with them is not monitored and violations are not punished. For example, the built-up area of a resort must not exceed 20% of the island's area. The practice looks completely different, which is usually clearly visible to the visitor on arrival or departure. The government does not check compliance with the construction plans, nor are there any sanctions for the usual corruption. The government is interested in as many tourist beds as possible. Most of the new hotel islands have been landscaped into the desired shape. This is done through "dredging" and sand pumping, which causes tremendous damage to the reefs. Private airports for individual resort chains, for example Maamingili in the South Ari Atoll, are also gained by building up the reef roof.
It is forbidden to catch sharks in the interior of the atoll. However, this is not monitored, so that the once huge shark population of the Maldives has disappeared, with the exception of a few remains. Sharks are not eaten, but caught for the export of the fins to the Far East and, after the fins have been cut (so-called “ shark finning ”), thrown back into the sea, where they perish in agony. Increasingly it is being used on reef fish such as red snapper and grouperfished for the world's luxury markets. Since the fish are true to their location, their population is endangered. "Night fishing", which is popular on all hotel islands, contributes to the decline in fish stocks. Turtles are also protected, but not the clutch, which means that the Maldives hardly produce any offspring of turtles.
In the late 1990s, the Maldivian government established large areas as a marine national park. No new tourist accommodation may be built in these areas. Since the old President Naesheed has approved the construction of further resorts, the pressure on the already badly damaged nature increases. Outside the national parks, however, people continue to use the blocks of coral reefs to build houses. In addition, the industrial mining of the reefs for land reclamation (expansion of the airport, Hulumalé) continues.
Environmentalists from all over the world are trying to develop environmental awareness among the population and to stop the destruction of the reefs. Scientists Tom Goreau and Wolf Hilbertz created artificial coral reefs off the Maldives island of Ihuru with the help of Biorock technology .
Problem of climate change
The island state, whose national territory consists of over 90% bodies of water and whose land areas do not rise more than one meter above sea level, is severely threatened by climate change and the associated global rise in sea level . Consequently, climate protection is an important concern of the Maldivian government and Malé sends a delegation to practically every climate protection conference.
In this context, President Mohamed Nasheed has launched a program that is probably unique in the world. A certain percentage of the state budget is to be used for the purchase of a new land. Against the background of rising sea levels, the island state wants to acquire possible alternative land for its population in good time. Parts of India , Sri Lanka and Australia are under discussion . However, shortly afterwards he had to admit that the country lacks the necessary money.
In media effective actions, President Nasheed tried to make the world public aware of the impending demise of his country and to win them over to the goal of limiting the CO 2 content of the atmosphere to 350 ppm. Based on three different reconstructions (MRESL - Mean Reconstructed Sea Level) there was an average sea level rise of (1.4 ± 0.51) mm per year in the Maldives from 1950 to 2009.
In 2016, as a result of the worldwide record temperatures, there was a strong warming of the sea water, which triggered widespread coral bleaching in the reefs around the Maldives. The bleaching affected over 60% of the total reefs, with 90% of the reefs bleaching in some regions. In addition, increased coral death was observed.
The 26 geographical atolls of the Maldives with a total of 1196 islands are divided into 19 districts ( administrative atolls ) and 2 cities. A decentralization plan from 2008, which provided for the establishment of seven provinces, was abandoned in 2012. In their place, 189 island councils were formed for the first time in 2010, with representatives elected by the respective population.
Administrative areas ( administrative atolls )
- Haa-Alif -Atoll
- Haa-Dhaalu -Atoll
- Shaviyani - great
- Raa -Atoll
- Baa -Atoll
- Noonu -Atoll
- Lhaviyani -Atoll
- Alif-Alif -Atoll
- Alif-Dhaal -Atoll
- Kaafu -Atoll
- Vaavu -Atoll
- Faafu -Atoll
- Dhaalu -Atoll
- Meemu -Atoll
- Thaa great
- Laamu -Atoll
- Gaafu-Alif -Atoll
- Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll
- Gnaviyani -Atoll
Until 2010 only the capital was considered a city; From January 10, 2011, Addu City , a unit of contiguous inhabited islands on the west coast of the atoll of the same name (administratively previously Seenu -Atoll), was recognized as a city by the government.
The most populous places or islands are listed below (as of 2014 census):
- Malé : 153,379 inhabitants
- Addu City : 21,928 inhabitants
- Fuvahmulah : 8,579 inhabitants
- Kulhudhuffushi : 8,224 inhabitants
- Thinadhoo : 5,268 inhabitants
- Naifaru : 4,141 inhabitants
- Gan : 3,543 inhabitants
- Dhuvaafaru : 3,018 inhabitants
The Maldives is one of the countries with an upper middle income where some industries, especially tourism, are developing rapidly. The gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 was 3379 million US dollars, the GDP per inhabitant around 9500 US dollars. In 2007 around 7.3% of the population lived below the poverty line of $ 1.90 per day and around 15% (2009) of the population lived below the national poverty line.
Tourism has created many millionaires. Due to the price increases, however, the majority of the population has been impoverished and brought to the brink of impoverishment. Thousands of Maldivians bring their families to India because they can no longer afford their homeland and the children there are getting a regular school education.
In 2017, the country was ranked 157th out of 180 countries in the Index for Economic Freedom .
All GDP values are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).
(purchasing power parity)
|GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
(as a percentage of GDP)
The Maldivian state owns a large number of companies, particularly in the utility companies or in key industries. The utilities State Electric Company Limited and Male 'Water & Sewerage Company , as well as the Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company , are state-owned.
Since the arrival of the first European tour group in the Maldives in 1972, the country's tourism sector has grown rapidly and steadily. In 2015, the tourism sector contributed 23.9 percent and the transport and communications sector 18.3 percent to gross domestic product, more than any other sector.
In 2015, 1.18 million tourists visited the Maldives, including 608,600 from Europe, 277,600 from Asia, 190,700 from America, 53,900 from the Middle East and 53,300 from Africa. 30 percent of the tourists came from China in 2015 (359,514). 105,132 tourists came from Germany (8.5 percent), followed by Great Britain (92,775, 7.5 percent), Italy (65,616, 5.3 percent) and India (52,368, 4.2 percent). 31,293 arrivals were counted from Switzerland (2.6 percent, 10th place) and 18,981 (1.5 percent) from Austria.
According to Tourism Minister Moosa Zamer, more than 1.3 million tourists arrived in the Maldives in 2017, around 7% more than in 2016. In the last two years, 20 new resorts have opened. Another 50 resort islands are being planned.
Most hotels are resorts , often located on private islands. According to statistics from the Minister of Tourism, the Maldives currently operate 144 resorts ( 140 of which have been renovated or expanded according to the Maledives Times as of November 2018), 12 hotels, 508 guest houses, 148 safaris, 308 travel agencies and 272 diving schools.
The main crops grown in the agricultural sector are millet , cassava and sweet potatoes . Coconuts are collected for food and copra production. Fishing, especially tuna and bonito , is the traditional mainstay of the island's economy. Vital imports, especially from India, include food (rice), construction and industrial goods, and fuels for power generation. Many of the commercial goods destined for tourism companies come by air from South Africa or the USA, as the closer food producers in Sri Lanka cannot deliver the goods they need or cannot deliver them in constant quality.
Many of the salaried jobs, from hotel managers and architects to wellness supervisors, are occupied by foreigners due to a lack of qualified labor. Bartenders on the tourist islands mostly come from other Asian countries such as India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. There is high unemployment among the Maldivian population because foreign workers are much cheaper (in July 2008 a Bangladeshi receives around 80 USD a month, a Maldivian would need three times the wage). The number of foreign workers is estimated at 100,000 (about 40% of the population), most of them illegal. Due to the large number and corruption in the authorities, deportations are no longer possible.
In 2006 the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:
The largest and widest streets are located on the artificial island of Hulhumalé, which is connected to the airport island by a causeway. There are also roads and cars in the capital Malé, the Addu Atoll and the island of Fuvamullah. The streets of Malé are clogged with cars and motorcycles, although the city's largest stretch is just 1.8 kilometers. The inter-atoll traffic is carried out with boats and increasingly with airplanes. Left-hand traffic applies in the Maldives .
There are two international airports, namely the Malé International Airport on the island of Hulhulé near the capital Malé and the Gan International Airport on Gan (Atoll Addu) . There are also several regional airports, on Hanimaadhoo , Kaadedhdhoo and Kadhdhoo . The longest road that is paved and accessible by cars goes from Hithadhoo to Gan in the Addu Atoll. Three islands connected by dams are crossed.
Museums and monuments
In 2011 an Islamist mob destroyed a monument with an engraved image of Buddha . In 2012, 35 irreplaceable Buddhist and Hindu art objects from the National Museum of the Maldives - the oldest dating from the 6th century BC - were destroyed by Islamists who believed they were obeying Islamic law . Ali Waheed, director of the National Museum, said: "The collection has been completely, totally smashed." All pre-Islamic history was affected. Among the works destroyed were the Bohomala sculptures, the Hanuman statues, and a sculpture of the Hindu water god Makara. The 'five-faced man', the only remaining archaeological evidence of a Buddhist era in the Maldives, was also destroyed, irreparably damaging the country's cultural heritage. The 'coral stones of the Buddha' were also destroyed.
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