The Maldives, officially known as the Republic of Maldives, is an archipelagic state in South Asia. Situated in the Indian Ocean, it lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India. The distance around 750 kilometers (470 miles; 400 nautical miles) from the Asian continent’s mainland. The Maldives’ chain of 26 atolls stretches across the equator. It stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to Addu Atoll in the south.
The country has a territory that roughly spans 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 sq mi), including the sea. The country’s land area is 298 square kilometers (115 sq mi). It is the smallest Asian country and one of the world’s most geographically dispersed sovereign states. It is also one of the smallest Muslim-majority countries by land area. With around 557,751 inhabitants, the Maldives is the second least populous country in Asia. The capital and most populated city is Malé, traditionally called the “King’s Island” because of its central location, where the ancient royal dynasties ruled.