Maldives

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.

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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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