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Maldives,[12] officially the Republic of Maldives,[nb 1] is an island nation in the Indian Ocean–Arabian Sea area, consisting of a double chain of twenty-six atolls, oriented north-south, that lie between Minicoy Island (the southernmost part of Lakshadweep, India) and the Chagos Archipelago. The chains stand in the Laccadive Sea, and the capital, Malé, is about 600 kilometres (370 mi) southwest of India and 750 kilometres (470 mi) southwest of Sri Lanka.

From the mid-sixteenth century, the Maldives was dominated by colonial powers: Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain. The islands gained independence from the British Empire in 1965, and in 1968 became a republic ruled by a president and an authoritarian government.

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.[13] Their atolls encompass a territory spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres (35,000 sq mi), making the country one of the world's most geographically dispersed. Its population of 328,536 (2012) inhabits 192 of its 1,192 islands.[14] In 2006 the capital and largest city Malé, located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll, had a population of 103,693.[15][16] Malé is one of the Maldives' administrative divisions and, traditionally, it was the "King's Island" where the ancient royal dynasties were enthroned. It is the smallest Asian country in both population and land area. With an average ground level elevation of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, it is the planet's lowest country.[17] It is also the country with the lowest natural highest point in the world, at 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in).[17] Future inundation of the Maldives due to rising sea levels is of great concern to its people, motivating the government to pledge becoming a carbon-neutral country by 2019.[18]

All sources from Wikipedia.

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