Sunday, May 15, 2011


Photo: Boats in a harbor
Tourism is the cornerstone of this Mediterranean nation's economy.
Photograph by Hugh Sitton/Getty Images

Throughout its history, Malta's location in the Mediterranean Sea has given it a strategic importance.Consequently, a sequence of powers including the Phoenicians, Romans, Fatimids, Sicilians, Knights of St John, French and British have all conquered the islands. Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and became a Republic in 1974, whilst retaining membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. It is a member of the European Union, which it joined in 2004, and also of the United Nations. Malta implemented the Schengen Agreement on December 21, 2007.Malta is known for its world heritage sites,most prominently the Megalithic Temples which are the oldest free-standing structures in Europe.According to the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul was shipwrecked on the island. Malta is also considered a hypothetical location for the mythical lost island of Atlantis. 

The Courthouse, Valletta

Valletta's maritime industrial zone

Valletta, Malta's historical capital city

The Valletta Waterfront illuminations

The façade of St. John's Co-Cathedral

The Mosta Dome known as "Ir-Rotunda"

Żejtun city centre Parish church

Lower Barrakka Gardens

Typical architecture built in recent years in Malta.

The dolphin show at Mediterraneo Marine Park. Tourism generates a significant part of the GDP of Malta

Fast Facts

Valletta; 83,000
316 square kilometers (122 square miles)
Maltese, English
Roman Catholic
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $17,200
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Malta
Map: Malta
Malta's position in the Mediterranean, midway between Europe and Africa, has made it a strategic prize. Here, in the 16th century, the Knights of St. John repelled 30,000 soldiers of Süleyman the Magnificent's Ottoman Empire. It withstood Axis bombs during World War II. In 1964, after almost 150 years as a British colony, the Maltese islands won independence. Tourism is the cornerstone of the nation's economy, and it joined the EU in 2004.
  • Industry: Tourism, electronics, ship building and repair
  • Agriculture: Potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat; pork
  • Exports: Machinery and transport equipment, manufactures
—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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