One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A country consisting of a chain of coral islands in the Indian Ocean south-west of Sri Lanka; population 364,000 (estimated 2015); official language, Maldivian; capital, Male.
The islands were probably first settled from southern India and Sri Lanka, but later came under Arab influence. A British protectorate from 1887, the Maldives became independent within the Commonwealth of Nations under the rule of a sultan in 1965 and then as a republic in 1968
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