The Maldives, officially known as the Republic of the Maldives (Maldivian:
ދިވެހިރާއްޖޭގެ ޖުމްހޫރިއްޔާ Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyya), is a country composed of islands and atolls in the Indian Ocean. The country is known to be an independent entity despite for three times being ruled by foreign rulers, the British included. In the mid-15th century, it was ruled by Portugal
along with Sri Lanka
. In fact, the Maldivians are related to the Sinhalese by language and ethnicity, and the coming of Islam set them apart from the Buddhist Sinhalese. Then in the 17th century, the Dutch held the islands for four months. Finally, the British came, making it a protectorate in the 19th century. The country later was given independence in 1965 and became an authoritarian republic in 1968.
Its island geography and lush wildlife have convinced the Maldivian government to become carbon-neutral in 2019 and being active participant in climate change discussions.
The country was also severely hit by the 2004 tsunami, however, its tourist industry, one of the mainstays of the economy, is trying to recover from it.
The Maldivian flag
The red field stands the people's courage and readiness for sacrifice. At the foreground is a green rectangle, symbolizing peace, and at its center is the white crescent of Islam.