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The earliest written history of the Maldives was marked by the arrival of Sinhalese people in Sri Lanka and the Maldives (Mahiladvipika) circa 543 to 483 BC, as reported in the Mahavansa.Their settlement marks a significant change in demographics and the development of the Indo-Aryan language Dhivehi language.Fishing has historically been the dominant economic activity, and remains the largest sector by far, followed by the rapidly growing tourism industry.Along with Sri Lanka, it is one of only two South Asian countries rated "high" on the Human Development Index, with its per capita income the highest among SAARC nations.In the Malabar language nale means four and diva island.So that in that language the word signifies "four islands," while we, corrupting the name, call it Maldiva." The first Maldivians did not leave any archaeological artifacts.
Built in 1656, this is the oldest mosque in Maldives.Malé is the capital and most populated city, traditionally called the "King's Island" for its central location.The Maldives archipelago is located atop the Chagos-Maldives-Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean, which also forms a terrestrial ecoregion, together with the Chagos and the Lakshadweep.Despite being just mentioned briefly in most history books, the 1,400-year-long Buddhist period has a foundational importance in the history of the Maldives.
It was during this period that the culture of the Maldives as we now know it both developed and flourished.Arab Traders had converted populations in the Malabar Coast since the 7th century, and Muhammad Bin Qāsim had converted large swathes of Sindh to Islam at about the same time.