Cocos (Keeling) Islands

The Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands is an Australian external territory in the Indian Ocean, comprising a small archipelago approximately midway between Australia and Sri Lanka and relatively close to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The territory's dual name reflects that the islands have historically been known as either the Cocos Islands or the Keeling Islands.
The territory consists of two atolls made up of 27 coral islands, of which only two – West Island and Home Island – are inhabited. The population of around 600 people consists mainly of Cocos Malays, who mostly practise Sunni Islam and speak a dialect of Malay as their first language. The territory is administered by the Australian federal government's Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications as an Australian external territory and together with Christmas Island forms the Australian Indian Ocean Territories administrative grouping. However, the islanders do have a degree of self-government through the local shire council.
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