Republic of Maldives
The Republic of Maldives, 400 miles to the south-west of Sri Lanka, consists of some 2,000 low-lying coral islands (only 220 inhabited), grouped into 12 clearly defined clusters of atolls but divided into 19 for administrative purposes. Area 115 sq. miles (298 sq. km). Population (census 1971), 118,818. Estimate (1975) 123,000. Capital Malé (15,000 inhabitants). The people are Moslems, and Islam is reflected in the constitution and the judicial system. The islands are covered with coconut palms and yield millet and fruit as well as coconut produce.