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the Maldives

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The Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is a country in South Asia, located in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean.

South Asia or Southern Asia is a term used to represent the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan SAARC countries and, for some authorities, adjoining countries to the west and east.

The Arabian Sea is a region of the northern Indian Ocean bounded on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Gulf of Aden, Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Peninsula, and on the east by India.

Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres and sharing the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe.

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It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 1,000 kilometres from the Asian continent.

Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea.

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The chain of 26 atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to Addu Atoll in the south.

An atoll, sometimes called a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef including a coral rim that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.

Addu Atoll, also known as Seenu Atoll, is the southernmost atoll of the Maldives.

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Comprising a territory spanning roughly 298 square kilometres, the Maldives is one of the world's most geographically dispersed sovereign states as well as the smallest Asian country by land area and population, with around 427,756 inhabitants.

A sovereign state is, in international law, a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralised government that has sovereignty over a geographic area.

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Malé is the capital and the most populated city, traditionally called the "King's Island" for its central location.

A male organism is the physiological sex that produces sperm.

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The Maldives archipelago is located on the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean, which also forms a terrestrial ecoregion, together with the Chagos Archipelago and Lakshadweep.

The Chagos Archipelago or Chagos Islands are a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean about 500 kilometres south of the Maldives archipelago.

The Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, also known as Chagos-Laccadive Plateau, is a prominent volcanic ridge and oceanic plateau extending between the Northern and the Central Indian Ocean.

Lakshadweep, formerly known as the Lakshadweep, Minicoy, and Aminidivi Islands, is a group of islands in the Lakshadweep Sea, 200 to 440 km off the south western coast of India.

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With an average ground-level elevation of 1.5 metres above sea level, it is the world's lowest country, with even its highest natural point being the lowest in the world, at 5.1 metres.

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Due to the consequent risks posed by rising sea levels, the government pledged in 2009 to make the Maldives a carbon-neutral country by 2019.

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Islam was introduced to the Maldivian archipelago in the 12th century which was consolidated as a sultanate, developing strong commercial and cultural ties with Asia and Africa.

Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion which professes that there is only one and incomparable God and that Muhammad is the last messenger of God.

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From the mid-16th-century, the region came under the increasing influence of European colonial powers, with the Maldives becoming a British protectorate in 1887.

A protectorate, in its inception adopted by modern international law, is a dependent territory that has been granted local autonomy and some independence while still retaining the suzerainty of a greater sovereign state.

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Independence from the United Kingdom was achieved in 1965 and a presidential republic was established in 1968 with an elected People's Majlis.

A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a "public matter" – not the private concern or property of the rulers – and where offices of state are elected or appointed, rather than inherited.

A presidential system is a democratic and republican system of government where a head of government leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch.

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The ensuing decades have been characterised by political instability, efforts at democratic reform, and environmental challenges posed by climate change.

Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time.

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The Maldives is a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia.

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It is also a member of the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Non Aligned Movement.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states, with a collective population of over 1.8 billion as of 2015 with 53 countries being Muslim-majority countries.

The Non-Aligned Movement is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.

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The World Bank classifies the Maldives as having an upper middle income economy.

The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programs.

The middle class is a class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy.

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Fishing has historically been the dominant economic activity, and remains the largest sector by far, followed by the rapidly growing tourism industry.

Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours.

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Maldives is rated "high" on the Human Development Index, with its per capita income significantly higher than other SAARC nations.

The Human Development Index is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development.

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The Maldives was a Commonwealth republic from July 1982 until its withdrawal from the Commonwealth in October 2016 in protest of international criticism of its records in relation to corruption and human rights.

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