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Union territory (pop., 2008 est.: 69,000) of India. Located in the Arabian Sea off India's southwestern coast, it includes about three dozen islands (10 of which are inhabited), with a total land area of 12 sq mi (32 sq km). The capital is Kavaratti. Once ruled by the Hindu Kulashekhara dynasty, it became a predominantly Muslim domain in the 12th century. Britain gained sovereignty over it at the end of the 18th century and assumed direct administration in 1908. It passed to India in 1947 and became a union territory in 1956. Coconut palms are the agricultural mainstay, and fishing and tourism are also important.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Lakshadweep, visit Britannica.com.