The Six Island Nations of The Indian Ocean

The unique nation of the Maldives is known for their luxury resorts in a beautiful tropical setting.
The unique nation of the Maldives is known for their luxury resorts in a beautiful tropical setting.

The Indian Ocean is the world's third largest ocean and covers 70,560,000 km². Three continents have coastlines on the Indian Ocean; these are Asia, Africa, and Australia to the north, west, and east respectively. The Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean to the south. The Indian Ocean is home to hundreds of islands. Six island nations are located in the Indian Ocean, namely Comoros, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Sri Lanka.

6.  Comoros

The crystal clear waters of Comoros.

The Comoros is one of the six island nations in the Indian Ocean. The country is located off the coast of East Africa between the island nation of Madagascar and Tanzania and Mozambique on the African mainland. The country lies at the Mozambique Channel’s northern end. The island nation of Seychelles lies to the northeast of Comoros. With an area of 2,034 square km, the Comoros is Africa’s fourth smallest nation by area. The three major islands in the Comoros archipelago are Mwali, Nzwani, and Ngazidja.

5.  Madagascar

The landscape near Diego Suarez, Madagascar.

The fourth-largest island in the world, Madagascar is a sovereign island state located in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius, Comoros, and the French territory of Réunion are the neighboring islands of Madagascar. The African country of Mozambique is the closest mainland nation to Madagascar. The country occupies an area of 592,800 square km. Madagascar split off from the Indian plate about 88 million years back. Thus, the flora and fauna of the nation developed independently and today, the country has high levels of endemism.

4.  Maldives

A hawksbill turtle floats in the water of the Indian Ocean coral reef, near the Maldives.

The South Asian nation of Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean. The country lies to the southwest of the island nation of Sri Lanka and India on the Asian mainland. The archipelago of Maldives encompasses an area of roughly 298 square km including 26 atolls stretching from Addu City in the south to Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north. It is the smallest country in Asia by size and has one of the most widely distributed territories in the world. The atolls of Maldives are composed of sand bars and coral reefs which are formed at the top of a submarine ridge that rises abruptly from the ocean.

3.  Mauritius

The landscape of Mauritius.

Another sovereign island nation in the Indian Ocean is Mauritius. The country has a total land area of 2,040 square km and is located to the east of Madagascar and northeast of Réunion. The country encompasses the main island of Mauritius and several outlying islands of various sizes of which the Rodrigues is the second biggest with an area of 108 square km. This island is located about 560 km to the east of the main island. The Agalega Islands are twin islands located 1,000 km to the north of the island of Mauritius. An archipelago, the Saint Brandon, lies to the north-east of the main island. The tropical island has a multiethnic and multicultural population and also diverse flora and fauna including many endemics. The island of Mauritius is surrounded by long stretches of white sandy beaches, lagoons, and coral reefs. The origin of the islands can be traced to gigantic volcanic eruptions that happened millions of years back.

2.  Seychelles

St. Pierre Island, Seychelles.

The Seychelles archipelago, an island nation comprising of 115 islands, is located in the Indian Ocean. The country is about 1,500 km off the coast of mainland East Africa. Other nearby political entities are Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros, and two regions of France—Mayotte and Reunion. Seychelles, a country with a population of only about 92,000, is part of the African Union. It is a popular tourist destination due to its sunny tropical climate, beautiful beaches, unique culture, and plenty of greenery. Many of uninhabited islands of Seychelles are designated as nature reserves.

1.  Sri Lanka

A typical beach in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is a sovereign state in the Indian Ocean. The country is part of the region of South Asia. The island nation shares its maritime boundaries with Maldives and India. The former lies to the country’s southwest and the latter to the northwest of the country. Sri Lanka has been inhabited for about 125,000 years. The geographical position of Sri Lanka and the country’s deep harbors have always attracted explorers and world powers with political and economic ambitions to Sri Lanka since the time of the Silk Road trade route until the Second World War. The Sinhalese are the major ethnic group of Sri Lanka. Tamils, Malays, Kaffirs, Burghers are some of the minority ethnic groups in the country. Sri Lanka is one of the best countries in South Asia in terms of the ranking on the Human Development Index.


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