Maldives

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Maldives ,officially the Republic of Maldives , is an island country and archipelago in the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of India and Sri Lanka. The chain of twenty six atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to the Addu Atoll in the south. The centrally located capital Malé is traditionally called the "King's Island".

Historically linked with the Indian subcontinent, the Maldivian archipelago was Islamised in the 12th century. The islands were ruled by Sultans for many centuries. It had a strong maritime trade network with Asia and Africa. From the mid 16th-century, the islands came under the influence of colonial powers, including Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain. The Maldives gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1965 and become a republic in 1968. The country has a presidential government with an elected People's Majlis. It is ranked by Freedom House as "Partly Free".  The Maldivian economy is dominated by tourism and fishing. The World Bank classifies the country as having an upper middle income economy.

Encompassing a territory spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres (35,000 sq mi), Maldives is one of the world's most geographically dispersed countries. It is the smallest Asian country in both land area and in population. The archipelago is located atop the Chagos-Maldives-Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean, which also forms a terrestrial ecoregion, together with the Chagos and the Lakshadweep.  With an average ground-level elevation of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level,  it is the planet's lowest country. It is also the country with the lowest natural highest point in the world, at 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in). The government has pledged to make Maldives a carbon-neutral country by 2019 amid concerns about rising sea-levels.

A founding member of SAARC, the Maldives is also a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the OIC and the NAM.

Capital
and largest city
Malé
4°10′N 73°30′E
Official languages Maldivian (Dhivehi)
Ethnic groups (2011) ≈100% Maldivians
Religion Sunni Islam
Demonym Maldivian
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic
 •  President Abdulla Yameen
 •  Vice President N/A
 •  Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed
 •  Chief Justice Abdullah Saeed
Legislature People's Majlis
Independence
 •  from the United Kingdom 26 July 1965 
 •  Current constitution 7 August 2008 


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