Dahlak Archipelago (däläkˈ ärkĭpĕlˈəgō) [key], island group, Eritrea, in the Red Sea off Massawa. There are two large, inhabited islands and more than 200 small, largely uninhabited islands. The islands are flat, barren, and mainly of coral origin. The pearl fisheries there were known to the Romans and still produce a few pearls. In the 7th cent. the group formed an independent Muslim state, but it was subsequently conquered by Yemen and, later, by the Ottoman Turks. Taken by Italy in conquest of Eritrea (1880s), the islands became part of Ethiopia after World War II, and then part of Eritrea after that country's independence in 1993.
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