If you ever see the photographs of a tropical island with the dazzling blue water stretching as far as one’s eyesight, coral reefs teeming with life and personal beach huts on glittering sandy beaches, definitely these are the photographs of the Maldives. This paradise is situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean and consists of 1,190 coral islands which spread over 90,000 sq. km. 99% of the country is Ocean water but still it provides a rich culture (3000 years old), extremely intolerant government and great educational system.
List of Contents
- 10 Interesting Facts about the Maldives
- 10 Established by an Exiled Indian Prince
- 9 98% Literacy
- 8 Underwater Cabinet Meetings
- 7 Incredible Ocean Life
- 6 A Muslim Nation
- 5 Forced Resignation
- 4 Alcohol is forbidden outside resorts
- 3 Adulterers Face Public Flogging
- 2 Extreme Religious Intolerance
- 1 The Coconut that rigged an Election
10 Interesting Facts about the Maldives
10 Established by an Exiled Indian Prince
The first people who officially colonized the islands belonged to India; the original date is unknown, but it was believed to happen before 269 BC. The first actual kingdom was considered to have been established by an Indian prince of Kalinga. The king was highly displeased with the prince, so he was sent to the Maldives- which was then popular as Dheeva Maari. This prince (Sri Soorudasarun Adeettiya) became responsible for the origin of the Adeetta Dynasty in Maldives.
9 98% Literacy
The Maldives brags about a 98% literacy rate among adults; this is a great jump from 70% in 1978. Residents live in several islands nearly 200 which make the unified education system difficult, and with 35% of the residents being below 18 years of age, education is a primary key to success. With the help of UNICEF, the Maldives developed a unified education system in 1978. They constructed Teacher Resource Centers which utilized the internet for long-distance teaching in the islands. The consequence is that there 100% enrollment of children in primary schools.
8 Underwater Cabinet Meetings
Rising Ocean level and climatic changes are a big threat in Maldives, with half a dozen islands evacuated already because of the rise in the ocean level which interferes with the sources of fresh water. In order to gain attention, President Mohamed Nasheed moved the cabinet meeting of October 2009 to the bottom of the ocean. The president along with 13 other government officials fastened the scuba gears and sat on the desks which had been immersed in the bottom of the sea in an attempt to increase awareness about the problems faced by the island chains.
7 Incredible Ocean Life
Whale watching is a pleasure in Maldives and we guarantee that you would be able to see anywhere from 1500 – 2000 single whales and dolphins. There are 10-12 different species of dolphins and whales at a specific time of the year that call the coral reefs of the island home. Along with dwarf sperm whales, real killer whales and false killer whales, there are spotted and striped dolphins, pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins also. One school of dolphin can possess more than 200 individuals, and the Maldives is also one of the most popular places in the world to watch the largest fish in the world, the Whale Shark.
6 A Muslim Nation
Visitors should very well keep in mind that the Maldives is strictly a Muslim country, and obeying traditions and local laws are of great importance. Both the Ja’fari and Shari’a schools of law are represented, with the Shari’a managing the criminal and family law. Originally a Buddhist country, the Maldives was transformed in the 12th century by Islamic holy men, who were accompanying merchants and traders on their long journeys. The islands were colonized by the Portugal in the 16th century who tried to convert them into Christianity. The conversion failed resulting in bloodshed and violence.
5 Forced Resignation
The Maldives has been a place of religious beliefs and greatly charged politics always. President Mohamed Nasheed was forced at gunpoint in 2012 to resign as a president after 3 weeks of revolts and protests. A riot proceeded after the day he resigned leaving him and about 50 other people injured after the military forces and police started launching tear gas at the expelled president. It all started when the President introduced orders to arrest the associated of the former president who interfered with a criminal case in court which was investigating human rights violation and corruption.
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4 Alcohol is forbidden outside resorts
Due to the strict Islamic beliefs of the country, tourists are expected to respect and obey Muslim traditions while on the Maldives. Everywhere except resort hotels, Alcohol is prohibited and the drinks are not allowed to take outside the resorts. Illegal imports include everything that violated the Muslim Belief system like pork, alcohol and pork products.
3 Adulterers Face Public Flogging
According to the political laws of the island, all the individuals are equal and deserve equal safety. However, the immensely devout country often bends down to religious law before secular; as a result, those who are guilty of doing adultery deserve a public flogging. The huge majority of flogging victims are the females, in 2006, 184 people who were in conviction for having extra-marital sex had been sentenced to be flogged according to the recent statistics.
2 Extreme Religious Intolerance
The Maldives is also famed for its religious intolerance. Don’t ever offend or disrespect the religious sensitivities in the island, or you would be sentenced. This includes bringing in other religious texts or idols, alcohol or pornography. If one gets caught with any type of drugs, then the person has to live in the prison of the Maldives for sure. Same sex relations are state and religious offense and can lead to prison as well.
1 The Coconut that rigged an Election
Most of the people in Maldives believe in Supernatural powers which include white and black magic. In 2013, a coconut was arrested by police after being found acting suspicious and loitering during the presidential elections. The young questionable coconut was found outside a polling station, and was blamed of being kept there to rig the presidential elections. Coconuts are believed to be a frequent content in black magic rituals and spells; the police brought in a white magician to test the coconut for curses and threats.