The official name is the Republic of Malta (Republika ta, Malta, Republic of Malta). Part of the British Commonwealth. It is located in Southern Europe, on the Maltese archipelago (the islands of Malta, Gozo, Comino, etc.) in the central part of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (about 90 km), east of Tunisia (about 230 km).
The area is 316 km2, the population is 397 thousand people. (2002). The official languages are Maltese and English. The capital is Valletta. Public holiday – Independence Day September 21 (since 1964). The monetary unit is the Maltese lira.
Member of the UN (since 1964) and a number of its specialized organizations – WHO, WTO, ICAO, IAEA, IMF, FAO, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNCTAD, as well as the Council of Europe, OSCE, EU (since 2004), etc.
Geography of Malta
It is located between 14°35′ east longitude and 35°50′ north latitude, in the Mediterranean Sea. Calcareous rocky plateau up to 240 m high. The coastline of the island of Malta is 196.8 km, the island of Gozo is 56.01 km. There are no rivers or lakes.
The Maltese Islands are composed of limestone with thin layers of clay and sandstone, which are easily weathered, and fertile soils used in agriculture are formed on them.
The climate is Mediterranean with mild and rainy winters and hot and dry summers. Average temperatures: February +12°С, August +25°С. Precipitation approx. 530 mm per year.
Minerals: limestone, salt.
Population of Malta
Overall population growth 0.73% (2002). Birth rate 12.76%, mortality 7.77%. Infant mortality 5.72 per 1000 newborns (2002). According to Countryaah, average life expectancy is 78.26 years (2002), including women 80.96 years, men 75.78 years.
Sex and age structure of the population: 0-14 years old – 19.7% (men 40,609; women 37,882); 15-64 years – 67.5% (men 135,047; women 133,207); 65 years and older – 12.8% (men 21,215; women 29,539). Literacy (ages 10 and over can read and write): overall 88.76%; men 86.91%; women 89.55%. Ethnic composition of the population: Maltese 95%; others (thousand people) – English – 5, Arabs – 5, Italians – 3, French – 3. Languages: Maltese, English, Italian. Maltese Catholics – 98%.
History of Malta
The important strategic position of the archipelago between the eastern and western Mediterranean led to the capture of the islands by foreigners. From the 13th century BC. Malta was ruled by the Phoenicians, from the 6th c. BC. – Carthaginians, from the 3rd century. BC. – Romans, from con. 4th c. AD – Byzantium, from con. 11th c. – Normans who annexed it to Sicily. From 1530 to 1798 the islands were owned by the knights of St. John (Order of Malta). In 1798 M. captured
France, and in 1814 was conquered by Great Britain. In 1814, under the Paris Agreement, Malta finally went to Great Britain, which turned it into its naval base. During the 2nd World War in 1942, King George VI awarded the people of the island with the Cross of St. George “for courage and unparalleled heroism” for repelling massive air raids (his image is in the upper left corner of the Maltese flag). In 1921 Malta gained self-government and in 1964 independence. In 1979 the last British naval base was liquidated in Malta.
Science and culture of Malta
In Malta, one of the oldest in Europe is the University of Malta (founded in 1769). Secondary education is free. Literature in Maltese is poor. The books are mostly in English. Educated Maltese also read Italian literature. There are a lot of churches and chapels in the country, many of them are architectural monuments. The culture of Malta, as well as the language and architecture, is a mixture of Mediterranean and Arabic cultures.