The Maldives is an Islamic republic which lies off the Indian sub-continent. It is made up of a chain of nearly 1,200 islands, most of them uninhabited.
None of the coral islands measures more than 1.8 metres (six feet) above sea level, making the country vulnerable to a rise in sea levels associated with global warming.
With its abundant sea life and sandy beaches, The Maldives is portrayed by travel companies as a tropical paradise.
The economy revolves around tourism, and scores of islands have been developed for the top end of the tourist market.
- Republic of Maldives
- Capital: Male
- Population 324,000
- Area 298 sq km (115 sq miles)
- Major language Divehi
- Major religion Islam
- Life expectancy 76 years (men), 79 years (women)
- Currency rufiyaa