South of India, in the Indian Ocean, lays a string of 1,200 islands known as Maldives. People live on only 200 of these 1,200 islands. Maldives is a very low-lying country. The highest points on the island are only five feet above sea level. Scientists worry that if sea levels rise due to global warming, the islands may disappear completely.

Maldives is a poor country, and tourism and fishing are the major industries. Government officials want to protect the Muslim culture. Tourists are brought to the country and taken directly to resorts and private beaches. They do not associate with the local residents, who frown on alcoholic drinks and immodest clothing.

Image of  Maldives beach

Fun Facts

  • 300,000 people live in Maldives.
  • The country has 116 square miles of land.
  • The official language is Dhivehi.
  • The life expectancy is 68 years.


  1. Sea level: the level of ocean water
  2. Tourism: the industry of hosting tourists
  3. Alcoholic: containing alcohol
  4. Immodest: revealing, vulgar

Learn More

Visit the BBC to learn more about Maldives.

Extra Credit

Question: Was Maldives affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami?

Answer: The entire country of Maldives was affected by the tsunami. The waves covered almost every surface, causing at least $470 million in damage. One-third of the population, or 100,000 people lost their homes or were otherwise seriously impacted.