The maldive islands consists of around 1200 covered with palms and vegetation, of which about 200 of these tropical islands are inhabited and at the time of writing this page there are 90 tourist resorts.
There are also a great many sandbars and coral outcrops with little or no vegetation but if you count these as islands this takes the total number to approximately 2000.
Islands in the Maldives can have different shapes in different seasons as they are washed by the currents of the ocean in opposite directions for six months at a time.
The reef belt that these island rise from are known as atolls and while their origin is unknown there are two main theories.
Charles Darwin suggests that they are a sunken volcano, that after an eruption around 50 million years ago slowly sank into the sea and then corals grew around the edge.The other main theory is from the Austrian scientist Hans Hass who suggests that the coral has been growing on the mountain chain in the Indian Ocean for hundreds of thousands of years, creating a coral platform that protrudes above the current sea level, but however they were formed there is no doubt that the Maldive islands are among the most beautiful in the world.