Republic of Maldives

Maldives or rather the Republic of Maldives is an island country in the Indian Ocean. The country consists of 1190 coral islands. The country's name has several meanings. Some say that it is derived from the Tamil words 'malai', meaning mountains, and 'teevu', meaning islands. Others say that is derived from the Sanskrit word 'maladvipa', meaning 'garland of islands'.

The Republic of Maldives has a rich history. The country was under Muslim, Portuguese, Dutch as well as British rule for most of its history. The country was an independent Islamic Sultanate from 1153 to 1968, though it was a British colony from 1887 to 1963. In 1953 the people tried to form a republic, but without much success, as the sultanate was re-imposed in that year. However, in 1959 under the leadership of Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyri Kilegefan, a Maldivian statesman, the people protested against the government and formed the United Suvadive Republic and elected Abdulla Afeef Didi as their President.

After the country gained independence from the British in the year1965, the Sultanate of Maldives ruled the country for three years. Thereafter, on November 11th 1968, the sultanate was abolished and a republic was formed by virtue of which the country cam to be known as the Republic of Maldives. Mr. Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyri Kilegefan was the first President of the country from 1968 to 1978.

The country has a presidential republic. The President is the head of the government and and it is he who appoints the council of ministers. The president is selected by secret ballot and is appointed for a term of five years. The country has an unicameral legislature consisting of 50 members each serving a five year term. The system of universal suffrage is followed over here. The Maldivian Peoples Party is one of the major political parties of the country.

The judges in Maldives are appointed by the President and all judicial decisions are based on Islamic law. Maldives, along with the United Nations Development Project, wrote the first Muslim Criminal Code in the history of the world.

As far as the administrative set up is concerned, the country has 26 atolls which is divided in to twenty administrative atolls and one city. The largest atoll is the Gaafu Alif Atoll. The atolls are administerd by Atoll Chiefs, who are appointed by the president.

The official religion of the country is Islam. Maldives is the smallest Asian country that is member of the United Nations. The official languauge of this country is Dhivehi. However English is also spoken extensively over here.

Tourism and fisheries are the major industries of its economy. In fact, Fishing is the main occupation of the people of this country and ythe governent has taken all the measurees to develop this sector as muchas possible. The country also has a flourishing cottage industry. This is also because of th growth in tourism in recent year. More and more people are nowadays visiting Maldives therbey making it a popular holiday destination of the world.

The Republic of Maldives with its rich history and cultural background has become a major tourist destination of the world.