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Malta, an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast, is a country known for its historic sites related to a succession of rulers including the Romans, Moors, Knights of Saint John, French, and British. It has a rich history stretching back thousands of years, evident in its diverse array of architectural and cultural landmarks. Today, Malta is not only a top tourist destination but also a thriving hub for finance, online gaming, and as a filming location for major film and TV productions.


The country consists of three inhabited islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino, with a combined area of about 316 square kilometers, making it one of the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries. Malta’s landscape features low hills with terraced fields, and its coastline is well indented, providing numerous harbors, bays, sandy beaches, and coves. The climate is typically Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters, conducive to year-round outdoor activities.


Malta’s strategic location has made it a naval base throughout history, with evidence of habitation dating back to around 5900 BC. The islands have a remarkably rich history of colonization and military significance. Notably, the Knights Hospitaller (Knights of St. John) ruled Malta from 1530 to 1798, leaving a lasting imprint on the country’s cultural and architectural landscape. Malta became part of the British Empire in the early 19th century and played a crucial role in World War II. It gained independence in 1964, became a republic in 1974, and joined the European Union in 2004.


Malta is a parliamentary republic. The President serves as the ceremonial head of state, while the Prime Minister is the head of government, holding executive power. The House of Representatives, elected by the people, exercises legislative power. Malta’s political system is characterized by a two-party system, and its legal system is based on Roman law, with influences from British law.


Malta’s economy is considered advanced and highly industrialized. It has undergone significant transformation from a focus on manufacturing and shipbuilding to services, particularly tourism, finance, and online gaming. The country has leveraged its EU membership to attract investment and grow its financial services sector, becoming a prominent location for companies in the fields of banking, healthcare, and technology. Despite its limited natural resources, Malta has a strong economy with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU.


Maltese culture is a rich tapestry woven from various influences over its long history, including Sicilian, Middle Eastern, and British elements. This diversity is reflected in the Maltese language, which is Semitic in origin with heavy Italian and English influences. Malta is renowned for its historical festivals and religious processions, vibrant music scene, and delicious cuisine that features a mix of Mediterranean flavors. The arts have also flourished, with local artists and writers contributing to a growing cultural scene.


With a population of about half a million, Malta is known for its warm and hospitable people. The Maltese are predominantly of Maltese ethnicity, with small communities of foreign residents. The official languages are Maltese and English, with the majority of the population being bilingual. Maltese society is family-oriented, with strong ties among extended family members playing a significant role in social life.

Fun Facts

  • Malta has a higher density of historic sights than any other country, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • The famous Azure Window, a natural limestone arch, was a notable landmark before its collapse in 2017.
  • Malta is a popular filming location, featured in movies like “Gladiator” and series like “Game of Thrones.”

Malta’s unique blend of historical legacy, cultural diversity, and modern vitality, all set against the backdrop of the stunning Mediterranean, makes it a fascinating subject for students exploring the intersection of history, culture, and geography in small island nations.