The atolls lie in the Indian Ocean, roughly 750kms S.W. of Sri Lanka (originally Ceylon). The atolls reach from 8 ° northern latitude to 1° southern latitude and are 80 km wide and 850 km long crossing the equator.
The total area of the Maldives, made up of 19 atolls, is about 298 square kilometers.
The atolls comprehend a total of 1196 islands of which approximately 220 islands are inhabited.
There are 644 km of coastline. At present 89 tourist islands have been established (91 resorts). The islands are very flat and are only 1,8m above sea level on average.
Population in Maldives, census of 2006: 298’842 – Population in Male: 81’647 / Male has one of the highest density p.km2.
The yearly growth of the population is some 3% on average (1980 to 1998).
Male, the main island is 1,7km x 1,0km, where an estimated 63’000 people live.
The official language and language of the country is Divehi, a particular form of the Singhalese language or Elu. The trading language is English.
The written language is Thaana, which is similar to the Arabic alphabet.
Ethnically the population is made up from a mixture of Singhalese, Arabs and a small African influence.