I haven't done *too many* swaps this year, but have nonetheless managed to get postcards from a couple of countries new to my collection. Maldives is one of them, and such a beautiful view this is as well!
Maldives, officially the Republic of the Maldives and also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean–Arabian Sea area, consisting of a double chain of twenty-six atolls, oriented north-south, that lie between Minicoy Island (the southernmost part of Lakshadweep, India) and the Chagos Archipelago. The chains stand in the Laccadive Sea, about 700 kilometres south-west of Sri Lanka and 400 kilometres south-west of India.
The Maldives archipelago is located on top of the Chagos-Maldives-Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean. Maldives also form a terrestrial ecoregion together with the Chagos and the Lakshadweep. The Maldives atolls encompass a territory spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres, making the country one of the world's most geographically dispersed. Its population of 328,536 (2012) inhabits 192 of its 1,192 islands. In 2006, Maldives' capital and largest city Malé, located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll, had a population of 103,693. Malé is one of the Maldives' administrative divisions and, traditionally, it was the "King's Island" where the ancient Maldives royal dynasties were enthroned.
The Maldives is the smallest Asian country in both population and land area. With an average ground level elevation of 1.5 metres above sea level, it is the planet's lowest country. It is also the country with the lowest natural highest point in the world, at 2.4 metres. Forecasts predicting future inundation of the Maldives due to rising sea levels are of great concern to its people.