On this day—July 26, 1965—the Maldives gained independence from Britain. The Maldives, which would become the Republic of Maldives in 1968, are a group of islands found on top of the Chagos-Maldives-Laccadive Ridge, an underwater mountain range in the Indian Ocean. It had previously been under British control since 1887. The Republic of Maldives is composed of 26 atolls, or ring-shaped coral reefs, and 1,192 islands.
July 26 is celebrated in the Maldives as Independence Day, and is a national holiday. Official celebrations take place throughout the day, with a parade by the National Security Service and the National Cadet Corps. This is followed up by presentations, both modern and traditional, of dances and drills by hundreds of schoolchildren.