Most congregants of the local Protestant churches are not Maltese; their congregations draw on the many British retirees living in the country and vacationers from many other nations. The festival is usually held in the last week of April every year. The temples have distinctive architecture, typically a complex trefoil design, and were used from 4000 to 2500 BC. Malta joined the European Union on 1 May 2004 and joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2008. Ħarruba, or carob tree, in Xemxija, probably older than 1000 years. The island of Malta possesses favourable conditions for the percolation and underground storage of water. Malta also boasts voluntary organisations such as Alpha Medical (Advanced Care), the Emergency Fire & Rescue Unit (E.F.R.U. And the county Malta is located in, Phillips County, is hardly bursting with people either (total county population of 5100 people). [82] [72][73] At around 160 BC coins struck in Malta bore the Greek ‘ΜΕΛΙΤΑΙΩΝ’ (Melitaion) meaning ‘of the Maltese’. The management structure changed from having self-employed drivers driving their own vehicles to a service being offered by a single company through a public tender (in Gozo, being considered as a small network, the service was given through direct order). [179] Malta, with area of 316 km2 (122 sq mi) and population of 0.4 million, is one of the most densely populated countries worldwide. The country is divided into five regions (one of them being Gozo), with each region having its own Regional Committee, serving as the intermediate level between local government and national government. This group of forward-looking artists came together forming an influential pressure group known as the Modern Art Group. [132] In 1989, Malta was the venue of a summit between US President George H.W. The island-state of Malta is located in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (Italy), it consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino, of which Malta is the largest island. In northern Malta the escarpment is occasionally abrupt and broken by deep embayments. [272], Malta has a long history of providing publicly funded health care. [293], Rural Malta shares in common with the Mediterranean society a number of superstitions regarding fertility, menstruation, and pregnancy, including the avoidance of cemeteries during the months leading up to childbirth, and avoiding the preparation of certain foods during menses. Malta is also home to a large number of foreign workers who migrated to the island to try and earn a better living. [235] The number of brides aged under 25 decreased from 1471 in 1997 to 766 in 2005; while the number of grooms under 25 decreased from 823 to 311. [116][117] He then sailed for Egypt leaving a substantial garrison in Malta. [294], Money refers to a rich future while a book expresses intelligence and a possible career as a teacher. For instance, a €10 Maltese commemorative coin cannot be used in any other country. [33] Punic influence, however, remained vibrant on the islands with the famous Cippi of Melqart, pivotal in deciphering the Punic language, dedicated in the 2nd century BC. Where is Malta located? [33] Tancred, King of Sicily, the second to last Norman monarch, made Malta a fief of the kingdom and installed a Count of Malta in 1192. Once under British control, they came to depend on Malta Dockyard for support of the Royal Navy, especially during the Crimean War of 1854. [146], In 2020, Malta signed and ratified the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Documented Maltese literature is over 200 years old. Malta is an Apostolic See; the Acts of the Apostles tells of how St. Paul, on his way from Jerusalem to Rome to face trial, was shipwrecked on the island of "Melite", which many Bible scholars identify with Malta, an episode dated around AD 60. Malta is a set of islands located in the Mediterranean Sea on the continental platform between Sicily and North Africa. As a result, Maltese society has been molded by centuries of foreign rule by various powers, including the Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Sicilians, Swabians, Aragonese, Hospitallers, French, and British. Malta became independent on 21 September 1964 (Independence Day). The rounded bays at Xlendi and Dwejra on the west coast of Gozo originated as underground caverns with roofs that have collapsed. [129], Malta achieved its independence as the State of Malta on 21 September 1964 (Independence Day) after intense negotiations with the United Kingdom, led by Maltese Prime Minister George Borġ Olivier. Sunshine duration hours total around 3,000 per year, from an average 5.2 hours of sunshine duration per day in December to an average above 12 hours in July. Only the three largest islands – Malta (Malta), Gozo (Għawdex) and Comino (Kemmuna) – are inhabited. [167] According to Demographia, the Valletta urban area has a population of 300,000. Thus, there was a natural population increase of 835 (compared to +888 for 2004, of which over a hundred were foreign residents).[233]. Malta became a British colony in 1813, serving as a way station for ships and the headquarters for the British Mediterranean Fleet. Malta had the second-highest voter turnout in the world (and the highest for nations without mandatory voting), based on election turnout in national lower house elections from 1960 to 1995. [133], On 16 July 1990, Malta, through its foreign minister, Guido de Marco, applied to join the European Union. As the islands were much desired due to their strategic importance, it was during this time that the men of Malta were militarised to fend off attempted conquest; early Counts were skilled Genoese privateers. Mobile telephone numbers have the prefix 77, 79, 98 or 99. The population's age composition is similar to the age structure prevalent in the EU. [183] Until 1800, Malta depended on cotton, tobacco and its shipyards for exports. Where is the island of Malta located? Together they forced the Maltese public to take seriously modern aesthetics and succeeded in playing a leading role in the renewal of Maltese art. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. [49] Prehistoric farming settlements dating to the Early Neolithic period were discovered in open areas and also in caves, such as Għar Dalam. During this period, when Frederick II of Hohenstaufen began to reorganise his Sicilian kingdom, Western culture and religion began to exert their influence more intensely. It is sometimes referred to as Valletta for statistical purposes to distinguish the main island from the entire country. There include St. Andrew's Scots Church in Valletta (a joint Presbyterian and Methodist congregation) and St Paul's Anglican Cathedral. By comparison, the average population density for the "World (land only, excluding Antarctica)" was 54/km2 (140/sq mi) as of July 2014. [239], The Maltese language (Maltese: Malti) is one of the two constitutional languages of Malta, having become official, however, only in 1934, and being considered as the national language. For other uses, see, Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans, Crown of Aragon rule and the Knights of Malta, Καὶ διασωθέντες τότε ἐπέγνωμεν ὅτι Μελίτη ἡ νῆσος καλεῖται. By 50 BC Maltese coins had a Greek legend on one side and a Latin one on the other. By 1397, however, the bearing of the comital title reverted to a feudal basis, with two families fighting over the distinction, which caused some conflict. [219] Malta uses the GSM900, UMTS(3G) and LTE(4G) mobile phone systems, which are compatible with the rest of the European countries, Australia and New Zealand. ", "Maltese History – F. The French Occupation", "Chapter 12 – The Egyptian Campaign of 1798", "Malta earns the title 'nurse of the Mediterranean, "Malta definition of Malta in the Free Online Encyclopedia. Such a location has played a key part in the traditions and history of the island and the country has been a key trading post in the Mediterranean both in modern times and ancient times. [287], Maltese cuisine shows strong Sicilian and English influences as well as influences of Spanish, Maghrebin and Provençal cuisines. There is also the amazing St. Peter’s Pool located at Delimara within a 20-minute walk. [184], In 1869, the opening of the Suez Canal gave Malta's economy a great boost, as there was a massive increase in the shipping which entered the port. [33] The Romans called the island Melita,[34] which can be considered either a Latinisation of the Greek Μελίτη or the adaptation of the Doric Greek pronunciation of the same word Μελίτα. As a result of the Norman and Spanish periods, and the rule of the Knights, Malta became the devout Catholic nation that it is today. It is positioned both in the Northern and Eastern hemispheres of the Earth. We are halfway between Gibraltar and Alexandria and between Sicily and North Africa. [242][271], Malta is also a popular destination to study the English language, attracting over 80,000 students in 2012. There are no area codes in Malta, but after inception, the original first two numbers, and currently[when?] The Azure Window arc along the coastline, which collapsed in 2017, on Gozo island, Malta. Instead, he promised never to grant the title to a third party and incorporated it back into the crown. [204], The Central Bank of Malta (Bank Ċentrali ta' Malta) has two key areas of responsibility: the formulation and implementation of monetary policy and the promotion of a sound and efficient financial system. The Maltese government entered ERM II on 4 May 2005, and adopted the euro as the country's currency on 1 January 2008. [297], In 1854 British governor William Reid launched an agricultural show at Buskett which is still being held today. Some historians argue that the award caused Britain to incur disproportionate losses in defending Malta, as British credibility would have suffered if Malta had surrendered, as British forces in Singapore had done. With 300 sq. [66] In 533 Belisarius, on his way to conquer the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa, reunited the islands under Imperial (Eastern) rule. The Sunday newspaper It-Torċa ("The Torch") published by the Union Press, a subsidiary of the General Workers' Union, is the widest Maltese language paper. [135] General Elections held on 12 April 2003, gave a clear mandate to the Prime Minister, Eddie Fenech Adami, to sign the treaty of accession to the European Union on 16 April 2003 in Athens, Greece. [289], A 2010 Charities Aid Foundation study found that the Maltese were the most generous people in the world, with 83% contributing to charity. The Muslim chronicler and geographer al-Himyari recounts that in 870, following a violent struggle against the defending Byzantines, the Arab invaders, first led by Halaf al-Hadim, and later by Sawada ibn Muhammad,[81] looted and pillaged the island, destroying the most important buildings, and leaving it practically uninhabited until it was recolonised by the Arabs from Sicily in 1048–1049. Phytogeographically, Malta belongs to the Liguro-Tyrrhenian province of the Mediterranean Region within the Boreal Kingdom. On 13 December 1974 (Republic Day) it became a republic within the Commonwealth, with the President as head of state. (1992) "A New Look at Old Customs", in, besieged by the Axis powers during World War II, Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, Roman Empire was divided for the last time, History of Malta under the Order of Saint John, Learn how and when to remove this template message, European Charter of Local Self-Government, treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Tyrrhenian-Adriatic sclerophyllous and mixed forests, European Spatial Planning Observation Network, 11th busiest container ports in continent of Europe and 46th in the World, Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Malta), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Over 100,000 Foreigners now living in Malta as Island's Population Just Keeps Ballooning", "Special Eurobarometer 493, European Union: European Commission, September 2019, pages 229-230", "Census of Population and Housing 2011: Report", "Gini coefficient of equivalised disposable income - EU-SILC survey", "Maltese sign language to be recognised as an official language of Malta", "Career guidance in Malta: A Mediterranean microstate in transition", "The Microstate Environmental World Cup: Malta vs. San Marino", "First inhabitants arrived 700 years earlier than thought", "Should the George Cross still be on Malta's flag?

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