Malta (Republic of Malta/Repubblika ta’ Malta) is a parliamentary republic located in the central Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily between 36° and 35° north latitude. The country is made up of an archipelago, which consists of the islands of Malta, Gozo, Comino and some smaller islands. The Republic of Malta is part of the European Union.
The Maltese archipelago consists of sedimentary limestone rock formations with high and rocky coasts interrupted by deep inlets. The interior is rather flat and the highest elevation is the Nadur Tower with 239 meters. The land is dry and full of karst phenomenas and practically lacks of rivers.
The most important city is La Valletta, the capital city, located along the north-eastern coast of the island of Malta, while the ancient capital of the island, the city of Mdina, is located in the interior. The archipelago is densely populated, but the vast majority of the population resides on the largest island of Malta, while in the other two islands live less than 10% of the total population. The main sources of income for the inhabitants of the archipelago are related to port activities, agriculture and tourism.
Malta has always been an important strategic base for controlling the commercial traffic of the Mediterranean. The island has seen the domination of all major powers, which controlled the Mediterranean: the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Normans, the Aragonese and then in the sixteenth century the island became a possession of the Knights of St. John, thus becoming a defensive bulwark against the rise of the Ottoman Empire. The Knights of St. John were ousted from Malta only in 1798, when the French led by Napoleon occupied the island. But two years later the British seized Malta establishing a control that ended only in 1964 with the full independence of the archipelago.
English text correction by Dietrich Köster.
- Area: 316 sq km
- Population: 400,000
- State Capital: La Valletta Official
- Languages: The official languages are Maltese and English. Italian is widely spoken.
- Religion: Roman Catholicism.
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
- Time Zone: Central European Time UTC+1, Daylight Saving Time UTC+2.