|Belongs to||Kaafu Atoll|
|Length||1.7 km / 1.05 miles|
|Width||1.0 km / 0.62 miles|
The island is heavily urbanized, with the city taking up essentially its entire landmass. Slightly less than one third of the nation's population lives in the capital city. Many, if not most, Maldivians and foreign workers in Maldives find themselves in occasional short term residence on the island since it is the only entry point to the nation and the centre of all administration and bureaucracy.
The town is divided into four divisions; Henveiru, Galolhu, Maafannu and Macchangolhi. The nearby island of Vilingili, formerly a tourist resort is the fifth division (Male'viligili) considered by the government.
On 29th September 2007 a bomb exploded in Malé Sultan Park square injuring 12 foreign tourists. It was the first known bombing in the history of the Maldives .
The whole island group, the Maldives, is named after its capital. The word "Maldives" means "The islands (dives) of Malé'".
The first settlers in the Maldive islands were Dravidian people from the nearest shores, which are in the modern Indian Subcontinent and coastal Ceylon. Comparative studies of Maldivian linguistic, oral and other cultural traditions, in addition to folklore, point to a strong Dravidian influence on Maldivian society, centered in Malé, from ancient times. The people of Giraavaru, an island located in Male' Atoll (now a tourist resort, after its inhabitants were removed) claim to descend from the first settlers of the Maldives, ancient Tamils.
It is said that Giraavaru fishermen used to go regularly to a certain large sandbank (finolhu) at the southern end of their atoll to clean tuna fish after a good catch. Owing to the large amount of tuna fish offal and blood, the waters around that sandbank looked like a big pool of blood (maa ley gandeh). "Maa" (from the Sanskrit "Maha"), meaning big, and "Lē" meaning blood. Traditionally the first inhabitants of the Maldives, which include the Giravaru people, didn't have kings. They lived in a simple society and were ruled by local headmen. But one day a prince from the Subcontinent called Koimala arrived to Male' Atoll sailing from the North on a big ship. The people of Giraavaru spotted his vessel from afar and welcomed him. They allowed Prince Koimala to settle on that large sandbank in the midst of the waters tainted with fish blood. Trees were planted on the sandbank and it is said that the first tree that grew on it was the papaya tree. As time went by the local islanders accepted the rule of this Northern Prince. A palace was built and the island was formally named Maa-le (Male'), while the nearest island was named Hulhu-le.
The names of the main four wards or divisions of Malé Island are said to have been given by the Giraavaru fishermen: Maafannu from "maa" (big) and "fannu" (a place where a village path meets the sea), Henveiru from "en-beyru" (out where fishermen got their bait), Galolhu from "galu-olhu" (stone groove) and, Macchangolhi from "mathi-angolhi" (windward path-fork).