Maldives, or officially the Republic of the Maldives and also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an Island country in the Indian Ocean-Arabian Sea area, consisting of a double Archipelago of Atolls of the Maldives s, oriented north-south, that lie between Maliku Atoll (the southernmost part of Lakshadweep, India) and the Chagos Archipelago. The chains stand in the Laccadive Sea, about south-west of Sri Lanka and south-west of India.
The Maldives has been an independent polity for the majority of its history, except for three periods in which it was ruled by outside forces. In the mid-16th century, for fifteen years, the Maldives was dominated by the Portuguese Empire. In the mid-17th century, the Dutch Empire (Dutch Malabar) dominated Maldives for four months. Finally, in the late 19th century, on the brink of war, the Maldives became a United Kingdom protectorate from 1887 until 1965. The Dutch referred to the islands as the “Maldivische Eilanden” (), while the British Anglicisation the local name for the islands first to the “Maldive Islands” and later to the “Maldives”. The islands gained Second Republic of the Maldives from the British Empire in 1965, and in 1968 became a republic ruled by a President of the Maldives and an Authoritarianism government.
The Maldives archipelago is located on top of the Chagos-Maldives-Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean. Maldives also form a terrestrial ecoregion together with the Chagos and the Lakshadweep.The Maldives atolls encompass a Territory (country subdivision) spread over roughly , making the country one of the world’s most geographically dispersed. Its population of 328,536 (2012) inhabits 192 of its 1,192 islands. In 2006, Maldives’ capital and largest city Malé, located at the southern edge of Malé Atoll, had a population of 103,693. Malé is one of Administrative divisions of the Maldives and, traditionally, it was the “King’s Island” where the ancient Maldives royal dynasties were enthroned.
The Maldives is the smallest List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Asia in both population and land area. With an average ground level elevation of above sea level, it is the planet’s lowest country.