A useful article for those planning to spend their vacation in this paradise. Learn more about the Maldivian people – the locals, the predominant nationalities, their attitudes towards tourists, and a brief overview of their religion. There will be plenty of interesting facts to discover.
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Maldivian people: general information
Below is general information that will help you form a proper understanding of the Maldivian people.
- The Maldives consists of over 1000 islands.
- The population of the Maldives is around 500,000 people.
- The population of the Maldives’ capital city, Male, is around 260,000 people. More than 50% of the country’s population lives in the capital!
Interesting fact:Another unique feature is that there is only one official city in the Maldives – Male. There are no other cities, only villages.
260,000 people living in Male reside on two islands with a total area of about 7 square kilometers. You can imagine how densely populated it is. Male is one of the top ten most densely populated cities in the world.
What makes it even more challenging is that, unlike other cities, Male is an island with clear boundaries. There are no suburbs, and the population is limited by the physical size of the city, which cannot expand horizontally.
However, for tourists, Male is only interesting as an intermediate point. 100% of tourists arrive at the international airport here, including yourself. Afterward, everyone disperses to their hotels on hundreds of islands on different atolls. Some allocate half a day to get to know Male, while others immediately leave for their hotels from the airport.
- Overview of Male for tourists: What to see, the market, and souvenirs
By the way, densely populated Male is practically your last chance to buy a local SIM card in the Maldives. There are hardly any shops beyond this point. Find out about the internet, the cost of connectivity, and where to buy a local operator’s SIM card.
The history of local inhabitants or who lives in Maldives
The situation here is not so straightforward.
- The nationality of Maldivian citizens is Maldivian.
- 98% of the country’s population is Maldivian by nationality, with only 2% being of other nationalities.
- The history of these islands, especially the ancient history, is poorly understood, as the indigenous primitive tribes left virtually no traces behind.
- Scientists know more or less what was happening in the Maldives only from the 5th-6th centuries AD. At this time, traders began to arrive on the islands: Arabs and Persians, and a little later, Sinhalese from India. In fact, today, Maldivians are the descendants of these three nationalities.
Good to know:Arabs, Persians, Sinhalese, and, according to some data, Malays make up the basis of the Maldivian ethnogenesis
For more detailed information on the history of the Maldives, who conquered the country when, and what legacy they left behind, please refer to the article at the link.
Another important point is that today, there are many migrant workers from neighboring countries in the Maldives: India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan. And according to some data, the number of migrant workers has reached almost 100,000.
When I mentioned that the population of the Maldives is about 500,000 people and 98% of them are Maldivian, you can add another 100,000 Indians, Sri Lankans, and Pakistanis to this number.
Interesting facts about Maldivians
Here are a few interesting facts that will help you understand the local population in the Maldives:
- The main religion in the country is Islam. 99% of the population in the Maldives are Muslims. You can learn more about religion, mosques, and prayers at 5 a.m. in the article linked below.
- Maldivians don’t view tourists as walking wallets. There’s no intrusive service, no one pesters you at the market, and no one tries to sell you tours on the beaches. Sometimes it seems like they’re more interested in buying something from you than selling something to you. For this reason, bargaining isn’t particularly common here.
- It’s completely safe. Tourists won’t get robbed here, theft is virtually non-existent, and local residents say that the only thing tourists need to fear is other tourists. For Muslims, theft is a big sin, and they even give change down to the last rufiyaa in stores.
- Overall, Maldivians are punctual, and time matters to them. I know many nationalities where being an hour late isn’t considered late, but that’s not the case with Maldivians. They’re generally punctual and can be relied on for doing business and making agreements.
- But at the same time, their attitude towards time is sometimes specific. For example, it’s perfectly normal here for your order to take an hour to arrive at a restaurant.
- Transportation (ferries and speedboats) between islands runs on a tight schedule here, which is great for planning your vacation. Learn more about transfers between islands and how to travel in the Maldives in the linked article.
In conclusion, the population in the Maldives is only about 500,000 people, and 98% of them are Maldivians by nationality. They are open, friendly people who genuinely welcome tourists and don’t view them as walking wallets. And the Maldives are a completely safe country for tourists at any time of day or night, even in Male at night, nothing will happen to you.
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to the Maldives