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Colourful, captivating and in a class of its own, the Maldives is a collection of remote coral islands southwest of Sri Lanka and India. It is a nation celebrated for its natural beauty, spectacular marine life and balmy climate all year round.
The Maldives has a reputation for being an unspoiled paradise and one of the world's most vibrant, warm and welcoming nations.
Little has been written about the history of the Maldives, however, thanks to archaeological findings, we know that the Maldives was inhabited as early as 1500 BC, although permanent settlements may have been established around 500 BC. Between the 10th and 12th centuries, cowrie shells and coconut fibres from the islands were used as Asian currency, and from the 17th century, explorers regularly visited the Maldives on their Spice Trade routes. Today you'll find influences from Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Dhivehi is an Indo-Aryan language predominantly spoken by about 350 000 people. Dhivehi is written from right to left and has a continuous written history of about 800 years. The English words ‘atoll’ (a ring of coral islands or reefs) and ‘dhoni’ (a vessel for inter-atoll navigation) are Anglicized forms of the Dhivehi words atolhu and dhoni. Other languages spoken in the Maldives include English, which is also recognized as the second main language.
The people of the Maldives are very warm and friendly. Dhivehi is the main language spoken in the Maldives and the religion practiced by local people is Islam. Highly spiritual and dedicated, the Maldivian people have great respect towards each other and outside visitors. When a newcomer visits a Maldivian island, the residents often welcome them with a cold coconut drink and traditional snack.