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Malta

This article is about the Republic of Malta. One might be looking for Malta Island. For other uses of "Malta" please see Malta (disambiguation).


The Republic of Malta is an island nation in southern Europe. Consisting of an archipelago in the central Mediterranean Sea directly south of Italy, these strategically located islands have been ruled and fought over by various powers over the centuries.

Repubblika ta' Malta
Republic of Malta     
(In Detail)
National motto: None
Official languages Maltese and English
Capital Valletta
President Guido de Marco[?]
Prime minister Eddie Fenech Adami[?]
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 184th
316 km²
Negligible
Population
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 165th
394,583
1249/km²
Independence
 - Date
From the UK
September 21, 1964
Currency Maltese lira
Time zone UTC +1
National anthem L-Innu Malti
Internet TLD.MT
Calling Code356

Table of contents

History Main article: History of Malta

Malta has been inhabited since around 5200 BC and a significant pre-historic civilisation existed on the islands prior to the arrival of the Phoenicians who named the main island Malat, meaning safe haven. The islands later came under the control of first Carthage (400 BC) and then Rome, before being conquered by Arabs in 870 AD, who would greatly influence local culture, notably in the Maltese language. In 1127 they were finally replaced by the Sicilian Normans, after which Malta became Christian again.

In 1530 the islands were given to the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, who had been driven out of Rhodes by the Ottoman Empire. This militant monastic order, now known as the "Knights of Malta", withstood a siege by the Ottomans in 1565, after which they increased the fortifications, particularly in the city of Valletta. Their reign ended when Napoleon conquered the islands in 1798. The British then took the islands in 1800.

In 1814, as part of the Treaty of Paris, Malta officially became a part of the British Empire and was used as a shipping waystation and fleet headquarters until the mid 1930s. Malta played a role during World War II, due to its proximity to Axis shipping lanes, and received for its people's bravery the George Cross now seen on its flag. After the war, Maltese independence was granted on September 21, 1964. It has remained a member of the British Commonwealth, becoming a republic in 1974, and will join the European Union on May 1, 2004.

Politics Main article: Politics of Malta

Under its 1964 constitution, Malta initially retained Queen Elizabeth II as sovereign of Malta and a governor general exercised executive authority on her behalf, but on December 13, 1974, Malta became a republic within the Commonwealth, with executive authority vested in a Maltese president. The president appoints as prime minister the leader of the party with a majority of seats in the Maltese parliament, the House of Representatives.

The president also nominally appoints, upon recommendation of the prime minister, the individual ministers to head each of the government departments. This cabinet is selected from among the members of the unicameral House of Representatives. This body consists of between 65 and 69 members elected on the basis of proportional representation. Elections must be held at least every 5 years. Candidates for any vacancies are determined by the majority of votes obtained by a candidate during the previous elections.

Local councils Main article: Local councils of Malta

Since 1993, Malta has been subdivided into 68 local councils or localities. These form the most basic form of local government and there are no intermediate levels between it and the national level. The following list divides them by island:

Island of MaltaIsland of Gozo

Geography Main article: Geography of Malta

Malta comprises an archipelago in the central Mediterranean Sea, some 93 km south of Sicily. Only the three largest islands Malta Island (Malta), Gozo (Għawdex), and Comino[?] (Kemmuna) are inhabited. Numerous bays along the indented coastline of the islands provide good harbours, whereas the landscape of the densely populated islands themselves is characterised by low hills with terraced fields. The highest point is the Ta'Dmejrek[?] on Malta Island at 253 m.

The local climate is a Mediterranean temperate clime, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. Effectively there are only two seasons, which makes the islands attractive for tourists.

Economy Main article: Economy of Malta

Malta's major resources are limestone, a favourable geographic location, and a productive labour force. Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited freshwater supplies, and has no domestic energy sources. The economy is dependent on foreign trade (serving as a freight transshipment point), manufacturing (especially electronics and textiles), and tourism.

Malta has privatised state-controlled firms and liberalised markets in order to prepare for membership in the European Union which will occur in 2004. Malta and Tunisia are currently discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration.

Demographics Main article: Demographics of Malta

Malta is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with about 1,250 inhabitants per square kilometre. The population is mostly composed of the descendants of Arab, British, Italian, and Phoenician peoples. Most of the foreign community in Malta consists of British nationals, a group centred around Sliema[?] and the surrounding suburbs. There also is a growing North African Muslim community of about 2,250 (2001), many of which are married to Maltese nationals.

Roman Catholicism is established by law as the official religion of Malta; however, full liberty of conscience and freedom of worship is guaranteed, and a number of faiths have places of worship on the island. Malta has two official languages: Maltese (a Semitic language) and English, but Italian is also widely spoken.

Culture Main article: Culture of Malta[?]

Miscellaneous topics

External Links

  • Gov.mt (http://www.gov.mt/index.asp?l=2) - Official governmental portal


European Union:
Austria  |  Belgium  |  Denmark  |  Finland  |  France  |  Germany  |  Greece  |  Ireland
Italy  |  Luxembourg  |  Netherlands  |  Portugal  |  Spain  |  Sweden  |  United Kingdom

Countries acceding to membership on May 1, 2004:
Cyprus  |  Czech Republic  |  Estonia  |  Hungary  |  Latvia  |  Lithuania  |  Malta  |  Poland  |  Slovakia  |  Slovenia


Countries of the world  |  Europe



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