Driving Directions Maldives
MALDIVES, the, is a republic consisting of 1,200 low-lying coral islands grouped into 12 atolls, lying 640 kilometers or 398 miles southwest of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. Roughly 202 islands are inhabited, and the highest point is only 1.5 meters or 5 feet above sea level.
Independence gained in 1965, with a republic formed three years later.
The climate is hot and humid and affected by monsoons from May to August.
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The islands covered with coconut palms, and some millet, cassava, yams, and tropical fruit are grown. However, rice, the staple diet of the islanders, has to be imported. The most important natural resource is marine life and fishing is a principal occupation. The chief export is now canned or frozen tuna, but tourism has overtaken fishing as the primary foreign currency earner.
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