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Migrants And The Maldives: African Connections

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates how African culture spilt into Maldives. Asian migrants have left an indelible imprint on Divēhi, the language of the Maldives. The main income generator for the Maldives is tourism. The Maldives had trading relationships with Persians, Arabs, Malays, Indonesians, Indians and Sri Lankans. The Maldives became established as a place for repairing ships, as the coir in the Maldives was of good quality. Cowrie shells were taken from the Maldives to Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and ancient China. The Maldivians are ethnically heterogeneous and are the result of several historical and social processes. There is only a single Maldivan identity currently. In the Maldives, Africans have been called Habshi and Baburu. While language has been the most important element in national identity, having a common ideology has reinforced Maldivian identity. Maldivian folk music and dance tells about an African presence.

Keywords:African; Arabs; Divēhi; Maldives; migrants; Persians



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