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Map of Maldives

The Maldives, officially Republic of Maldives, also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls stretching in a north-south direction off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and Chagos Archipelago. It stands in the Laccadive Sea, about seven hundred kilometers (435 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka and (250 mi) south-west of India. 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 "Maldives".

This chain of islands is an archipelago located among the Lakshadweep-Maldives-Chagos Group, which are in reality the tops of a vast undersea mountain range, in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. The atolls of the Maldives encompass a territory spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres, making it one of the most dispersed countries in the world in geographic terms. It features 1,192 islands, of which two hundred are inhabited. The Republic of Maldives's capital and largest city is Male, with a population of 103,693 (2006). It is located at the southern edge of North Male Atoll, in the Kaafu Atoll. It is also one of the Administrative divisions of the Maldives. Traditionally it was the King's Island, from where the ancient Maldive Royal dynasties ruled and where the palace was located.

The Maldives are the smallest Asian country in both population and land area. With an average ground level of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, it is the lowest country on the planet. It is also the country with the lowest highest point in the world, at 2.3 metres (7 ft 7 in) the Maldives sinking is a great concern for the Maldivian people.

Maldives Map