Maldive Islands a chain of low coral islands in the Indian Ocean, about 400 miles west- south-west of Ceylon, some 500 miles in length by 45 in average breadth, consist of 17 groups or atolls, each atoll surrounded by a coral reef. The entire number, including the islets, is estimated at about 50,000. Mali, the largest of the chain, seven miles in circumference, with a population of 2000, is the residence of the native prince, "the sultan of the Twelve Thousand Islands," who is a tributary prince to the governor of Ceylon. The population of all the islands is estimated at 150,000. The larger and inhabited islands are clad with palm, fig, citron, and bread-fruit trees. Grain is also abundantly produced. Wild-fowl breed in prodigious numbers; fish, rice (imported from Hindustan), and cocoa-nuts, constitute the food of the inhabitants. These people are strict Mohammedans in their religion.