Country Listing

Maldives Table of Contents



Few works offering a close look at the contemporary island societies of the Indian Ocean have been published in the English language. Even fewer works that place those societies in the context of their historical and geographic settings are to be found. This study, Indian Ocean: Five Island Countries, seeks to contribute in a modest way to fulfillment of the void, offering a compact and objective exposition of the dominant social, political, and economic institutions of the island countries and a view of their current problems and tensions. Analysis and interpretation by the authors must be judged, however, in the light of the scant nature of available research data in many subject areas.

With considerable justification, the reader may question the exclusion of Sri Lanka (the island nation formerly known as Ceylon, an important political force in the Indian Ocean) from other than the more general discussions in this study. That country's close proximity to, and long historical associations with, the Indian subcontinent and its early tutelage in self-rule under the British, beginning nearly two decades before independence, however, distinguish it quite clearly from the island countries in the southwestern Indian Ocean. Moreover, it has been treated already in a separate volume in the series. By the same token, the reader may question the inclusion of Maldives, insofar as, like Sri Lanka, it, too, lies close to the subcontinent in the northern Indian Ocean. Unlike Sri Lanka, however, Maldives appears nowhere else in the Country Study series, and in the view of the authors it warranted treatment here, especially as it shares some concerns of the island countries in the southwestern ocean. Reunion, although also a Mascarene Island like Mauritius, chose to become an integral part of metropolitan France, and thus is not included in this volume.

Measurements are given in the metric system; a conversion table is provided in the Appendix. The spelling of place-names generally follows that established by the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN) in its latest available gazetteers for the area. Currency conversion factors appear in the Glossary, which is included for the reader's convenience. Country Profile data, ordinarily appearing in the front matter of books in this series, in this study are to be found with the relevant chapters.

The body of the text reflects information available as of July 1994. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated. The Introduction discusses significant events and trends that have occurred since the completion of research; the Country Profiles include updated information as available; and the Bibliography lists recently published sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.

Data as of August 1994