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Capital Malé
Official languages Dhivehi
Demonym Maldivian

The Maldives or Maldive Islands, officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island country consisting of a group of atolls stretching south of India's Lakshadweep islands between Minicoy Island and the Chagos Archipelago, and about seven hundred kilometres (435 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka in the Laccadive Sea of Indian Ocean. The twenty-six atolls of Maldives encompass a territory featuring 1,192 islets, of which two hundred islands are inhabited.[3]

The original inhabitants were Buddhist, probably since Ashoka's period,[citation needed] in the 3rd century BC. Islam was introduced in 1153. The Maldives then came under the influence of the Portuguese (1558) and the Dutch (1654) seaborne empires. In 1887 it became a British protectorate. In 1965, the Maldives obtained independence from Britain (originally under the name "Maldive Islands"), and in 1968 the Sultanate was replaced by a Republic.

The Maldives is the smallest Asian country in terms of both population and area; it is the smallest predominantly Muslim nation in the world. With an average ground level of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level,[4] it is also the country with the lowest highest point in the world, at 2.3 metres (7 ft 7 in).[5]

Where is Maldives

The Maldives lies between latitudes 4 degree 17 North and longitudes 73 degree 50 East – a position where there is an abundance of sun all throughout the year, every year. The Maldives has always been a popular destination for travelers, especially seafarers because of its prime position en route to many trade destinations.

The total area of 90,000 square kilometers over which the islands of Maldives are spread, consists of sparkling sun-kissed beaches, palm-fringed islands, crystalline lagoons studded with multi-coloured corals and warm, azure seas with exotic marine life – a mesmerizing mixture that remains the same throughout the year, continue to enthrall visitors from far and wide.

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