(WIPO code: MV) (latest review October 2023)

by JOHN WILSON PARTNERS, Colombo, Sri Lanka and Mr. S. Hussain, Malé

General Information


300 sq. km.


389,568 (2023).




Dhivehi, English widely spoken.


Rufiyaa (“MVR” or rufiyaa).

General Remarks

The islands had been a British protected State since 1887. The country became a republic in 1953 but returned to the status of a Sultanate by decision of its Assembly on February 22, 1954. Until the 1965 Agreement, Great Britain was responsible for the islands’ defense and foreign relations.

The Maldives has been an independent State since July 26, 1965, and became a member of the UN on September 21, 1965. Long a Sultanate, the Maldives became a republic in 1968.

The Maldive Islands are a chain of 1,190 coral islands, with an average elevation of 1.6 meter above sea level, grouped into 26 natural atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts), some 400 miles to the southwest of Sri Lanka, stretching from just south of the Equator for about 600 miles to the north. They are grouped into 20 administrative units, also called Atolls.

The most important sectors of the economy are tourism and fishing. Production of processed fish, to be marketed in Sri Lanka, is an important industry. Coir, a coconut fiber is also exported.