Malta is an island nation situated in the Mediterranean Sea, between Europe and North Africa. The densely populated island nation is around 90-95 km to the south of Sicily. It is made up of an archipelago of seven islands, out of which only three are inhabited. The area of the island is only 316 km2,
which makes Malta one of the world’s smallest countries but also, one of the most densely populated for such a small nation. The location of Malta, in Mediterranean Sea, has made it a strategic area, the reason why it was invaded a large number of time, by Sicilians, Romans, Phoenicians, Byzantines and others. However, it is the Knights of St. John, who ruled the island, which Malta is associated with. The country is also predominantly catholic in faith. If you would like to learn more about this small and beautiful island, in the following lines, we have provided more information on Malta.
Image: Eje Gustafsson@flickr
Area: 316 km2
Population: 419,000 (2011)
Official Languages: Maltese, English
Independence Day: September 21, 1964
Type Of Government: Parliamentary republic
Fun & Interesting Facts About Malta
- The official name of Malta is ‘Republic of Malta’.
- The official languages of Malta are Maltese and English.
- Majority of the people in Malta are Roman Catholics.
- The main ethnic groups in Malta include Maltese, along with British and others (including Sicilian, French, Spanish and Italian).
- The capital of Malta is Valletta (de facto).
- Malta follows the system of ‘Parliamentary Republic’.
- Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom, on 21st September 1964. It became a republic on 13th December 1974.
- In the past, there used to be a bridge connecting Malta with Sicily.
- Malta was earlier known as Melita, meaning the island of honey, by ancient Greeks and Romans.
- Ghar Dalem Cave of Malta holds the earliest evidence of inhabitation in the country.
- The Temple at Ggantija traces back its foundation to a time period much before the Egyptian pyramids.
- The only two functional ports at Malta are located at Masaxlokk and Valletta.
- The megalithic temples in Malta boast of having a lineage older than England's Stonehenge.
- Malta and Tunisia are at dispute over the commercial exploitation of oil in the continental shelf that the two countries geographically share.
- A submerged archway and underwater structures have been discovered off the coast of Malta.
- Malta is believed to have served as the site for the legendary city of Atlantis.
- It was in Malta only that St Paul got shipwrecked, in 60 AD, and converted the Governor to Christianity.
- The island of Malta was under the occupation of the Knights of St John, from 1530 until 1798.
- Ottoman Empire tried to annex Malta in 1565, but their army was defeated by the Knights of Malta. It was after the siege that the Knights fortified the island.
- Valletta has been named after Jean Parisot de la Valette, a Grand Master of the Knights of St John.
- The most popular Maltese pastry, Pastizzi, has quickly caught up with one of the most popular pastries in Europe. This is filled with local ingredients, but popularly with ricotta cheese and peas.
- There is 88% literacy rate for both men and women in this country
- The University of Malta was founded way back in the year 1592.
- In 1798, Malta was taken over by Napoleon, who ended the Inquisition introduced by the Knights.
- Malta's Grand Harbor boasts of being one of the best natural deep-water harbors in the world.
- The first trade union in Malta was formed by Maltese teachers in the year 1919. It was known as ‘Malta Union of Teachers’.
- The most famous crafts village in Europe, called ‘Ta’Qali’, is found in central Malta.
- Malta was awarded with the George Cross, by King George VI (UK), in the year 1942.
- 38% of the land is arable and here, only 3% of permanent crops are grown. It would also interest you to know that there is 0% forest and woodland cover in this diverse country.
- Malta is a member of the Commonwealth Nations and European Union.
- Tourism, electronics, ship building and repair form the major industries in Malta.