Names of Maldives

Names of Maldives
The name Maldives may derive from Mahal'deeb, in Sanskrit or maalai theevu (மாலை தீவு ) in Tamil. The Maldivian people were called Dhivehin.
The word Dheeb/Deeb (archaic Dhivehi, related to Sanskrit dvīpa (द्वीप)) means "island", and Dhives (Dhivehin) means "islanders" (i.e., Maldivians). During the colonial era, the Dutch referred to the country as Maldivische Eilanden in their documentation, while Maldive Islands is the anglicised version of the local name used by the British, which later came to be written as "Maldives".

The ancient Sri Lankan chronicle Mahawamsa refers to an island called Mahiladiva ("Island of Women", महिलादिभ) in Pali, which is probably a mistranslation of the same Sanskrit word meaning "garland". The Mahawamsa is derived from an even older Sinhala word dating back to the 2nd century BC.[citation needed]

Some[who?] theorise that the name Maldives derives from the Sanskrit mālādvīpa (मालाद्वीप), meaning "garland of islands". In Malayalam, "Garland of Islands" can be translated as Maladhweepu . In Tamil, "Garland of Islands" can be translated as MalaiTheevu (மாலைத்தீவு). None of these names is mentioned in any literature, but classical Sanskrit texts dating back to the Vedic period mention the "Hundred Thousand Islands" (Lakshadweepa), a generic name which would include not only the Maldives, but also the Laccadives, Aminidivi Islands, Minicoy and the Chagos island groups.

Some medieval travellers such as Ibn Batuta called the islands Mahal Dibiyat (محل دبيأت) from the Arabic word Mahal ("palace"), which must be how the Berber traveller interpreted the local name, having been through Muslim North India, where Perso-Arabic words were introduced into the local vocabulary . This is the name currently inscribed on the scroll in the Maldive state emblem. The classical Persian/Arabic name for Maldives is Dibajat.

The name Maldives also might have come from the Sinhalese word Maala Divaina ("Necklace Islands"), perhaps referring to the shape of the archipelago. The same name is still used today by Sinhalese when referring to the Maldives, and it is widely believed that ancient Sinhalese were amongst the first settlers on the island archipelago.