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This article is about the country. Malta_sentence_0

For other uses, see Malta (disambiguation). Malta_sentence_1


Republic of Malta

Repubblika ta' Malta  (Maltese)Malta_header_cell_0_0_0

CapitalMalta_header_cell_0_1_0 VallettaMalta_cell_0_1_1
Largest townMalta_header_cell_0_2_0 St. Paul's BayMalta_cell_0_2_1
Official languagesMalta_header_cell_0_3_0 Maltese, EnglishMalta_cell_0_3_1
Other languageMalta_header_cell_0_4_0 Italian (66% conversational)Malta_cell_0_4_1
Ethnic groups (2019)Malta_header_cell_0_5_0 Malta_cell_0_5_1
ReligionMalta_header_cell_0_6_0 Roman CatholicismMalta_cell_0_6_1
Demonym(s)Malta_header_cell_0_7_0 MalteseMalta_cell_0_7_1
GovernmentMalta_header_cell_0_8_0 Unitary parliamentary constitutional republicMalta_cell_0_8_1
PresidentMalta_header_cell_0_9_0 George VellaMalta_cell_0_9_1
Prime MinisterMalta_header_cell_0_10_0 Robert AbelaMalta_cell_0_10_1
LegislatureMalta_header_cell_0_11_0 House of RepresentativesMalta_cell_0_11_1
Independence from the United KingdomMalta_header_cell_0_12_0
State of MaltaMalta_header_cell_0_13_0 21 September 1964Malta_cell_0_13_1
RepublicMalta_header_cell_0_14_0 13 December 1974Malta_cell_0_14_1
Area Malta_header_cell_0_15_0
TotalMalta_header_cell_0_16_0 316 km (122 sq mi) (185th)Malta_cell_0_16_1
Water (%)Malta_header_cell_0_17_0 0.001Malta_cell_0_17_1
2019 estimateMalta_header_cell_0_19_0 514,564 (173rd)Malta_cell_0_19_1
2011 censusMalta_header_cell_0_20_0 417,432Malta_cell_0_20_1
DensityMalta_header_cell_0_21_0 1,633/km (4,229.5/sq mi) (4th)Malta_cell_0_21_1
GDP (PPP)Malta_header_cell_0_22_0 2019 estimateMalta_cell_0_22_1
TotalMalta_header_cell_0_23_0 $22.802  billionMalta_cell_0_23_1
Per capitaMalta_header_cell_0_24_0 $48,246Malta_cell_0_24_1
GDP (nominal)Malta_header_cell_0_25_0 2019 estimateMalta_cell_0_25_1
TotalMalta_header_cell_0_26_0 $15.134 billionMalta_cell_0_26_1
Per capitaMalta_header_cell_0_27_0 $32,021Malta_cell_0_27_1
Gini (2019)Malta_header_cell_0_28_0 28.0

low · 15thMalta_cell_0_28_1

HDI (2018)Malta_header_cell_0_29_0 0.885

very high · 28thMalta_cell_0_29_1

CurrencyMalta_header_cell_0_30_0 Euro () (EUR)Malta_cell_0_30_1
Time zoneMalta_header_cell_0_31_0 UTC+1 (Central European Time)Malta_cell_0_31_1
Summer (DST)Malta_header_cell_0_32_0 UTC+2 (Central European Summer Time)Malta_cell_0_32_1
Date formatMalta_header_cell_0_33_0 dd/mm/yyyy (AD)Malta_cell_0_33_1
Driving sideMalta_header_cell_0_34_0 leftMalta_cell_0_34_1
Calling codeMalta_header_cell_0_35_0 +356Malta_cell_0_35_1
ISO 3166 codeMalta_header_cell_0_36_0 MTMalta_cell_0_36_1
Internet TLDMalta_header_cell_0_37_0 .mtMalta_cell_0_37_1

Malta (/ˈmɒltə/, /ˈmɔːltə/ (listen); in Maltese: [ˈmɐltɐ; Italian: [ˈmalta), officially known as the Republic of Malta (Maltese: Repubblika ta' Malta) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. Malta_sentence_2

It lies 80 km (50 mi) south of Italy, 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia, and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya. Malta_sentence_3

With a population of about 515,000 over an area of 316 km (122 sq mi), Malta is the world's tenth smallest country in area and fourth most densely populated sovereign country. Malta_sentence_4

Its capital is Valletta, which is the smallest national capital in the European Union by area at 0.8 km (0.31 sq mi). Malta_sentence_5

The official and national language is Maltese, which is descended from Sicilian Arabic that developed during the Emirate of Sicily, while English serves as the second official language. Malta_sentence_6

Italian and Sicilian also previously served as official and cultural languages on the island for centuries, with Italian being an official language in Malta until 1934 and a majority of the current Maltese population being at least conversational in the Italian language. Malta_sentence_7

Malta has been inhabited since approximately 5900 BC. Malta_sentence_8

Its location in the centre of the Mediterranean has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, with a succession of powers having contested and ruled the islands, including the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of St. John, French, and British. Malta_sentence_9

Most of these foreign influences have left some sort of mark on the country's ancient culture. Malta_sentence_10

Malta became a British colony in 1813, serving as a way station for ships and the headquarters for the British Mediterranean Fleet. Malta_sentence_11

It was besieged by the Axis powers during World War II and was an important Allied base for operations in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Malta_sentence_12

The British Parliament passed the Malta Independence Act in 1964, giving Malta independence from the United Kingdom as the State of Malta, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and queen. Malta_sentence_13

The country became a republic in 1974. Malta_sentence_14

It has been a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations since independence, and joined the European Union in 2004; it became part of the eurozone monetary union in 2008. Malta_sentence_15

Malta has had Christians since the time of Early Christianity, though was predominantly Muslim while under Arab rule, at which time Christians were tolerated. Malta_sentence_16

Norman rulers expelled all Muslims who did not convert, and Aragonese rulers expelled unconverted Jews. Malta_sentence_17

Today, Catholicism is the state religion, but the Constitution of Malta guarantees freedom of conscience and religious worship. Malta_sentence_18

Malta is a tourist destination with its warm climate, numerous recreational areas, and architectural and historical monuments, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Hypogeum of Ħal Saflieni, Valletta, and seven megalithic temples which are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world. Malta_sentence_19

Etymology Malta_section_0

The origin of the name Malta is uncertain, and the modern-day variation is derived from the Maltese language. Malta_sentence_20

The most common etymology is that the word Malta is derived from the Greek word μέλι, meli, "honey". Malta_sentence_21

The ancient Greeks called the island Μελίτη (Melitē) meaning "honey-sweet", possibly for Malta's unique production of honey; an endemic subspecies of bees live on the island. Malta_sentence_22

The Romans called the island Melita, which can be considered either a Latinisation of the Greek Μελίτη or the adaptation of the Doric Greek pronunciation of the same word Μελίτα. Malta_sentence_23

In 1525 William Tyndale used the transliteration "Melite" in Acts 28:1 for Καὶ διασωθέντες τότε ἐπέγνωμεν ὅτι Μελίτη ἡ νῆσος καλεῖται as found in his translation of The New Testament that relied on Greek texts instead of Latin. Malta_sentence_24

"Melita" is the spelling used in the Authorized (King James) Version of 1611 and in the American Standard Version of 1901. Malta_sentence_25

"Malta" is widely used in more recent versions, such as The Revised Standard Version of 1946 and The New International Version of 1973. Malta_sentence_26

Another conjecture suggests that the word Malta comes from the Phoenician word Maleth, "a haven", or 'port' in reference to Malta's many bays and coves. Malta_sentence_27

Few other etymological mentions appear in classical literature, with the term Malta appearing in its present form in the Antonine Itinerary (Itin. Malta_sentence_28

Marit. Malta_sentence_29

p. 518; Sil. Malta_sentence_30

Ital. Malta_sentence_31

xiv. Malta_sentence_32

251). Malta_sentence_33

History Malta_section_1

Main articles: History of Malta and Timeline of Maltese history Malta_sentence_34

Malta has been inhabited from around 5900 BC, since the arrival of settlers from the island of Sicily. Malta_sentence_35

A significant prehistoric Neolithic culture marked by Megalithic structures, which date back to c. 3600 BC, existed on the islands, as evidenced by the temples of Bugibba, Mnajdra, Ggantija and others. Malta_sentence_36

The Phoenicians colonised Malta between 800–700 BC, bringing their Semitic language and culture. Malta_sentence_37

They used the islands as an outpost from which they expanded sea explorations and trade in the Mediterranean until their successors, the Carthaginians, were ousted by the Romans in 216 BC with the help of the Maltese inhabitants, under whom Malta became a municipium. Malta_sentence_38

After a probable sack by the Vandals, Malta fell under Byzantine rule (4th to 9th century) and the islands were then invaded by the Aghlabids in AD 870. Malta_sentence_39

The fate of the population after the Arab invasion is unclear but it seems the islands may have been repopulated at the beginning of the second millennium by settlers from Arab-ruled Sicily who spoke Siculo-Arabic. Malta_sentence_40

The Muslim rule was ended by the Normans who conquered the island in 1091. Malta_sentence_41

The islands were completely re-Christianised by 1249. Malta_sentence_42

The islands were part of the Kingdom of Sicily until 1530 and were briefly controlled by the Capetian House of Anjou. Malta_sentence_43

In 1530 Charles V of Spain gave the Maltese islands to the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in perpetual lease. Malta_sentence_44

The French under Napoleon took hold of the Maltese islands in 1798, although with the aid of the British the Maltese were able to oust French control two years later. Malta_sentence_45

The inhabitants subsequently asked Britain to assume sovereignty over the islands under the conditions laid out in a Declaration of Rights, stating that "his Majesty has no right to cede these Islands to any power...if he chooses to withdraw his protection, and abandon his sovereignty, the right of electing another sovereign, or of the governing of these Islands, belongs to us, the inhabitants and aborigines alone, and without control." Malta_sentence_46

As part of the Treaty of Paris in 1814, Malta became a British colony, ultimately rejecting an attempted integration with the United Kingdom in 1956. Malta_sentence_47

Malta became independent on 21 September 1964 (Independence Day). Malta_sentence_48

Under its 1964 constitution, Malta initially retained Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Malta, with a Governor-General exercising authority on her behalf. Malta_sentence_49

On 13 December 1974 (Republic Day) it became a republic within the Commonwealth, with the President as head of state. Malta_sentence_50

On 31 March 1979, Malta saw the withdrawal of the last British troops and the Royal Navy from Malta. Malta_sentence_51

This day is known as Freedom Day and Malta declared itself as a neutral and non-aligned state. Malta_sentence_52

Malta joined the European Union on 1 May 2004 and joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2008. Malta_sentence_53

Prehistory Malta_section_2

See also: Megalithic Temples of Malta, Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, and Għar Dalam Malta_sentence_54

Pottery found by archaeologists at the Skorba Temples resembles that found in Italy, and suggests that the Maltese islands were first settled in 5200 BC mainly by Stone Age hunters or farmers who had arrived from the Italian island of Sicily, possibly the Sicani. Malta_sentence_55

The extinction of the dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants has been linked to the earliest arrival of humans on Malta. Malta_sentence_56

Prehistoric farming settlements dating to the Early Neolithic period were discovered in open areas and also in caves, such as Għar Dalam. Malta_sentence_57

The Sicani were the only tribe known to have inhabited the island at this time and are generally regarded as being closely related to the Iberians. Malta_sentence_58

The population on Malta grew cereals, raised livestock and, in common with other ancient Mediterranean cultures, worshiped a fertility figure represented in Maltese prehistoric artifacts exhibiting the proportions seen in similar statuettes, including the Venus of Willendorf. Malta_sentence_59

Pottery from the Għar Dalam phase is similar to pottery found in Agrigento, Sicily. Malta_sentence_60

A culture of megalithic temple builders then either supplanted or arose from this early period. Malta_sentence_61

Around the time of 3500 BC, these people built some of the oldest existing free-standing structures in the world in the form of the megalithic Ġgantija temples on Gozo; other early temples include those at Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra. Malta_sentence_62

The temples have distinctive architecture, typically a complex trefoil design, and were used from 4000 to 2500 BC. Malta_sentence_63

Animal bones and a knife found behind a removable altar stone suggest that temple rituals included animal sacrifice. Malta_sentence_64

Tentative information suggests that the sacrifices were made to the goddess of fertility, whose statue is now in the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta. Malta_sentence_65

The culture apparently disappeared from the Maltese Islands around 2500 BC. Malta_sentence_66

Archaeologists speculate that the temple builders fell victim to famine or disease, but this is not certain. Malta_sentence_67

Another archaeological feature of the Maltese Islands often attributed to these ancient builders is equidistant uniform grooves dubbed "cart tracks" or "cart ruts" which can be found in several locations throughout the islands, with the most prominent being those found in Misraħ Għar il-Kbir, which is informally known as "Clapham Junction". Malta_sentence_68

These may have been caused by wooden-wheeled carts eroding soft limestone. Malta_sentence_69

After 2500 BC, the Maltese Islands were depopulated for several decades until the arrival of a new influx of Bronze Age immigrants, a culture that cremated its dead and introduced smaller megalithic structures called dolmens to Malta. Malta_sentence_70

In most cases, there are small chambers here, with the cover made of a large slab placed on upright stones. Malta_sentence_71

They are claimed to belong to a population certainly different from that which built the previous megalithic temples. Malta_sentence_72

It is presumed the population arrived from Sicily because of the similarity of Maltese dolmens to some small constructions found on the largest island of the Mediterranean sea. Malta_sentence_73

Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans Malta_section_3

See also: Magna Graecia, Phoenicia, Cippi of Melqart, Ancient Rome, Sicilia (Roman province), and Byzantine Empire Malta_sentence_74

Phoenician traders colonised the islands sometime after 1000 BC as a stop on their trade routes from the eastern Mediterranean to Cornwall, joining the natives on the island. Malta_sentence_75

The Phoenicians inhabited the area now known as Mdina, and its surrounding town of Rabat, which they called Maleth. Malta_sentence_76

The Romans, who also much later inhabited Mdina, referred to it (and the island) as Melita. Malta_sentence_77

After the fall of Phoenicia in 332 BC, the area came under the control of Carthage, a former Phoenician colony. Malta_sentence_78

During this time the people on Malta mainly cultivated olives and carob and produced textiles. Malta_sentence_79

During the First Punic War, the island was conquered after harsh fighting by Marcus Atilius Regulus. Malta_sentence_80

After the failure of his expedition, the island fell back in the hands of Carthage, only to be conquered again in 218 BC, during the Second Punic War, by Roman Consul Tiberius Sempronius Longus. Malta_sentence_81

After that, Malta became Foederata Civitas, a designation that meant it was exempt from paying tribute or the rule of Roman law, and fell within the jurisdiction of the province of Sicily. Malta_sentence_82

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. Malta_sentence_83

Also the local Roman coinage, which ceased in the 1st century BC, indicates the slow pace of the island's Romanization, since the last locally minted coins still bear inscriptions in Ancient Greek on the obverse (like "ΜΕΛΙΤΑΙΩ", meaning "of the Maltese") and Punic motifs, showing the resistance of the Greek and Punic cultures. Malta_sentence_84

The Greeks settled in the Maltese islands beginning circa 700 BC, as testified by several architectural remains, and remained throughout the Roman dominium. Malta_sentence_85

They called the island Melite (Ancient Greek: Μελίτη). Malta_sentence_86

At around 160 BC coins struck in Malta bore the Greek ‘ΜΕΛΙΤΑΙΩΝ’ (Melitaion) meaning ‘of the Maltese’. Malta_sentence_87

By 50 BC Maltese coins had a Greek legend on one side and a Latin one on the other. Malta_sentence_88

Later coins were issued with just the Latin legend ‘MELITAS’. Malta_sentence_89

The depiction of aspects of the Punic religion, together with the use of the Greek alphabet, testifies to the resilience of Punic and Greek culture in Malta long after the arrival of the Romans. Malta_sentence_90

In the 1st century BC, Roman Senator and orator Cicero commented on the importance of the Temple of Juno, and on the extravagant behaviour of the Roman governor of Sicily, Verres. Malta_sentence_91

During the 1st century BC the island was mentioned by Pliny the Elder and Diodorus Siculus: the latter praised its harbours, the wealth of its inhabitants, its lavishly decorated houses and the quality of its textile products. Malta_sentence_92

In the 2nd century, Emperor Hadrian (r. 117–38) upgraded the status of Malta to municipium or free town: the island local affairs were administered by four quattuorviri iuri dicundo and a municipal senate, while a Roman procurator, living in Mdina, represented the proconsul of Sicily. Malta_sentence_93

In 58 AD, Paul the Apostle was washed up on the islands together with Luke the Evangelist after their ship was wrecked on the islands. Malta_sentence_94

Paul the Apostle remained on the islands three months, preaching the Christian faith. Malta_sentence_95

The island is mentioned at the Acts of the Apostles as Melitene (Greek: Μελιτήνη). Malta_sentence_96

In 395, when the Roman Empire was divided for the last time at the death of Theodosius I, Malta, following Sicily, fell under the control of the Western Roman Empire. Malta_sentence_97

During the Migration Period as the Western Roman Empire declined, Malta came under attack and was conquered or occupied a number of times. Malta_sentence_98

From 454 to 464 the islands were subdued by the Vandals, and after 464 by the Ostrogoths. Malta_sentence_99

In 533 Belisarius, on his way to conquer the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa, reunited the islands under Imperial (Eastern) rule. Malta_sentence_100

Little is known about the Byzantine rule in Malta: the island depended on the theme of Sicily and had Greek Governors and a small Greek garrison. Malta_sentence_101

While the bulk of population continued to be constituted by the old, Latinized dwellers, during this period its religious allegiance oscillated between the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople. Malta_sentence_102

The Byzantine rule introduced Greek families to the Maltese collective. Malta_sentence_103

Malta remained under the Byzantine Empire until 870, when it fell to the Arabs. Malta_sentence_104

Arab period and the Middle Ages Malta_section_4

See also: Arab–Byzantine wars and Islam in Malta Malta_sentence_105

Malta became involved in the Arab–Byzantine wars, and the conquest of Malta is closely linked with that of Sicily that began in 827 after Admiral Euphemius' betrayal of his fellow Byzantines, requesting that the Aghlabids invade the island. Malta_sentence_106

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, 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. Malta_sentence_107

It is uncertain whether this new settlement took place as a consequence of demographic expansion in Sicily, as a result of a higher standard of living in Sicily (in which case the recolonisation may have taken place a few decades earlier), or as a result of civil war which broke out among the Arab rulers of Sicily in 1038. Malta_sentence_108

The Arab Agricultural Revolution introduced new irrigation, some fruits and cotton, and the Siculo-Arabic language was adopted on the island from Sicily; it would eventually evolve into the Maltese language. Malta_sentence_109

The Christians on the island were allowed to practice their religion if they paid jizya, a tax for non-Muslims for exemption from military service, but non-Muslims were exempt from the tax that Muslims had to pay (zakat). Malta_sentence_110

Norman conquest Malta_section_5

Main article: Norman invasion of Malta Malta_sentence_111

The Normans attacked Malta in 1091, as part of their conquest of Sicily. Malta_sentence_112

The Norman leader, Roger I of Sicily, was welcomed by Christian captives. Malta_sentence_113

The notion that Count Roger I reportedly tore off a portion of his checkered red-and-white banner and presented it to the Maltese in gratitude for having fought on his behalf, forming the basis of the modern flag of Malta, is founded in myth. Malta_sentence_114

Malta became part of the newly formed Kingdom of Sicily, which also covered the island of Sicily and the southern half of the Italian Peninsula. Malta_sentence_115

The Catholic Church was reinstated as the state religion, with Malta under the See of Palermo, and some Norman architecture sprang up around Malta, especially in its ancient capital Mdina. Malta_sentence_116

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. Malta_sentence_117

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. Malta_sentence_118

The kingdom passed on to the dynasty of Hohenstaufen from 1194 until 1266. Malta_sentence_119

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. Malta_sentence_120

Malta was declared a county and a marquisate, but its trade was totally ruined. Malta_sentence_121

For a long time it remained solely a fortified garrison. Malta_sentence_122

A mass expulsion of Arabs occurred in 1224, and the entire Christian male population of Celano in Abruzzo was deported to Malta in the same year. Malta_sentence_123

In 1249 Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, decreed that all remaining Muslims be expelled from Malta or compelled to convert. Malta_sentence_124

For a brief period, the kingdom passed to the Capetian House of Anjou, but high taxes made the dynasty unpopular in Malta, due in part to Charles of Anjou's war against the Republic of Genoa, and the island of Gozo was sacked in 1275. Malta_sentence_125

Crown of Aragon rule and the Knights of Malta Malta_section_6

See also: County of Sicily, Kingdom of Sicily, Crown of Aragon, History of Malta under the Order of Saint John, and Great Siege of Malta Malta_sentence_126

Malta was ruled by the House of Barcelona, the ruling dynasty of the Crown of Aragon, from 1282 to 1409, with the Aragonese aiding the Maltese insurgents in the Sicilian Vespers in a naval battle in Grand Harbour in 1283. Malta_sentence_127

Relatives of the Kings of Aragon ruled the island until 1409 when it formally passed to the Crown of Aragon. Malta_sentence_128

Early on in the Aragonese ascendancy, the sons of the monarchs received the title Count of Malta. Malta_sentence_129

During this time much of the local nobility was created. Malta_sentence_130

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. Malta_sentence_131

This led King Martin I of Sicily to abolish the title. Malta_sentence_132

The dispute over the title returned when the title was reinstated a few years later and the Maltese, led by the local nobility, rose up against Count Gonsalvo Monroy. Malta_sentence_133

Although they opposed the Count, the Maltese voiced their loyalty to the Sicilian Crown, which so impressed King Alfonso that he did not punish the people for their rebellion. Malta_sentence_134

Instead, he promised never to grant the title to a third party and incorporated it back into the crown. Malta_sentence_135

The city of Mdina was given the title of Città Notabile as a result of this sequence of events. Malta_sentence_136

On 23 March 1530, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, gave the islands to the Knights Hospitaller under the leadership of Frenchman Philippe Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, Grand Master of the Order, in perpetual lease for which they had to pay an annual tribute of one single Maltese Falcon. Malta_sentence_137

These knights, a military religious order now known as the Knights of Malta, had been driven out of Rhodes by the Ottoman Empire in 1522. Malta_sentence_138

The Order of Saint John (also known as the Knights Hospitaller, or the Knights of Malta) were the rulers of Malta and Gozo between 1530 and 1798. Malta_sentence_139

During this period, the strategic and military importance of the island grew greatly as the small yet efficient fleet of the Order of Saint John launched their attacks from this new base targeting the shipping lanes of the Ottoman territories around the Mediterranean Sea. Malta_sentence_140

In 1551, the population of the island of Gozo (around 5,000 people) were enslaved by Barbary pirates and taken to the Barbary Coast in North Africa. Malta_sentence_141

The knights, led by Frenchman Jean Parisot de Valette, Grand Master of the Order, withstood the Great Siege of Malta by the Ottomans in 1565. Malta_sentence_142

The knights, with the help of Spanish and Maltese forces, were victorious and repelled the attack. Malta_sentence_143

Speaking of the battle Voltaire said, "Nothing is better known than the siege of Malta." Malta_sentence_144

After the siege they decided to increase Malta's fortifications, particularly in the inner-harbour area, where the new city of Valletta, named in honour of Valette, was built. Malta_sentence_145

They also established watchtowers along the coasts – the Wignacourt, Lascaris and De Redin towers – named after the Grand Masters who ordered the work. Malta_sentence_146

The Knights' presence on the island saw the completion of many architectural and cultural projects, including the embellishment of Città Vittoriosa (modern Birgu), the construction of new cities including Città Rohan (modern Ħaż-Żebbuġ) . Malta_sentence_147

Ħaż-Żebbuġ is one of the oldest cities of Malta, it also has one of the largest squares of Malta. Malta_sentence_148

French period and British conquest Malta_section_7

Main articles: French occupation of Malta and Siege of Malta (1798–1800) Malta_sentence_149

The Knights' reign ended when Napoleon captured Malta on his way to Egypt during the French Revolutionary Wars in 1798. Malta_sentence_150

Over the years preceding Napoleon's capture of the islands, the power of the Knights had declined and the Order had become unpopular. Malta_sentence_151

Napoleon's fleet arrived in 1798, en route to his expedition of Egypt. Malta_sentence_152

As a ruse towards the Knights, Napoleon asked for a safe harbour to resupply his ships, and then turned his guns against his hosts once safely inside Valletta. Malta_sentence_153

Grand Master Hompesch capitulated, and Napoleon entered Malta. Malta_sentence_154

During 12–18 June 1798, Napoleon resided at the Palazzo Parisio in Valletta. Malta_sentence_155

He reformed national administration with the creation of a Government Commission, twelve municipalities, a public finance administration, the abolition of all feudal rights and privileges, the abolition of slavery and the granting of freedom to all Turkish and Jewish slaves. Malta_sentence_156

On the judicial level, a family code was framed and twelve judges were nominated. Malta_sentence_157

Public education was organised along principles laid down by Bonaparte himself, providing for primary and secondary education. Malta_sentence_158

He then sailed for Egypt leaving a substantial garrison in Malta. Malta_sentence_159

The French forces left behind became unpopular with the Maltese, due particularly to the French forces' hostility towards Catholicism and pillaging of local churches to fund Napoleon's war efforts. Malta_sentence_160

French financial and religious policies so angered the Maltese that they rebelled, forcing the French to depart. Malta_sentence_161

Great Britain, along with the Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of Sicily, sent ammunition and aid to the Maltese and Britain also sent her navy, which blockaded the islands. Malta_sentence_162

On 28 October 1798, Captain Sir Alexander Ball successfully completed negotiations with the French garrison on Gozo, the 217 French soldiers there agreeing to surrender without a fight and transferring the island to the British. Malta_sentence_163

The British transferred the island to the locals that day, and it was administered by Archpriest Saverio Cassar on behalf of Ferdinand III of Sicily. Malta_sentence_164

Gozo remained independent until Cassar was removed from power by the British in 1801. Malta_sentence_165

General Claude-Henri Belgrand de Vaubois surrendered his French forces in 1800. Malta_sentence_166

Maltese leaders presented the main island to Sir Alexander Ball, asking that the island become a British Dominion. Malta_sentence_167

The Maltese people created a Declaration of Rights in which they agreed to come "under the protection and sovereignty of the King of the free people, His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland". Malta_sentence_168

The Declaration also stated that "his Majesty has no right to cede these Islands to any power...if he chooses to withdraw his protection, and abandon his sovereignty, the right of electing another sovereign, or of the governing of these Islands, belongs to us, the inhabitants and aborigines alone, and without control." Malta_sentence_169

British Empire and the Second World War Malta_section_8

Main articles: Malta Protectorate, Crown Colony of Malta, and Siege of Malta (World War II) Malta_sentence_170

In 1814, as part of the Treaty of Paris, Malta officially became a part of the British Empire and was used as a shipping way-station and fleet headquarters. Malta_sentence_171

After the Suez Canal opened in 1869, Malta's position halfway between the Strait of Gibraltar and Egypt proved to be its main asset, and it was considered an important stop on the way to India, a central trade route for the British. Malta_sentence_172

A Turkish Military Cemetery was commissioned by Sultan Abdul Aziz and built between 1873-1874 for the fallen Ottoman soldiers of the Great Siege of Malta. Malta_sentence_173

Between 1915 and 1918, during the First World War, Malta became known as the Nurse of the Mediterranean due to the large number of wounded soldiers who were accommodated in Malta. Malta_sentence_174

In 1919 British troops fired on a rally protesting against new taxes, killing four Maltese men. Malta_sentence_175

The event, known as Sette Giugno (Italian for 7 June), is commemorated every year and is one of five National Days. Malta_sentence_176

Before the Second World War, Valletta was the location of the Royal Navy's Mediterranean Fleet's headquarters; however, despite Winston Churchill's objections, the command was moved to Alexandria, Egypt, in April 1937 out of fear that it was too susceptible to air attacks from Europe. Malta_sentence_177

During the Second World War, Malta played an important role for the Allies; being a British colony, situated close to Sicily and the Axis shipping lanes, Malta was bombarded by the Italian and German air forces. Malta_sentence_178

Malta was used by the British to launch attacks on the Italian navy and had a submarine base. Malta_sentence_179

It was also used as a listening post, intercepting German radio messages including Enigma traffic. Malta_sentence_180

The bravery of the Maltese people during the second Siege of Malta moved King George VI to award the George Cross to Malta on a collective basis on 15 April 1942 "to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history". Malta_sentence_181

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. Malta_sentence_182

A depiction of the George Cross now appears in the upper hoist corner of the Flag of Malta and on the country's arms. Malta_sentence_183

The collective award remained unique until April 1999, when the Royal Ulster Constabulary became the second – and, to date, the only other – recipient of a collective George Cross. Malta_sentence_184

Independence and Republic Malta_section_9

See also: State of Malta Malta_sentence_185

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. Malta_sentence_186

Under its 1964 constitution, Malta initially retained Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Malta and thus head of state, with a governor-general exercising executive authority on her behalf. Malta_sentence_187

In 1971, the Malta Labour Party led by Dom Mintoff won the general elections, resulting in Malta declaring itself a republic on 13 December 1974 (Republic Day) within the Commonwealth, with the President as head of state. Malta_sentence_188

A defence agreement was signed soon after independence, and after being re-negotiated in 1972, expired on 31 March 1979. Malta_sentence_189

Upon its expiry, the British base closed down and all lands formerly controlled by the British on the island were given up to the Maltese government. Malta_sentence_190

Malta adopted a policy of neutrality in 1980. Malta_sentence_191

In 1989, Malta was the venue of a summit between US President George H.W. Malta_sentence_192 Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, their first face-to-face encounter, which signalled the end of the Cold War. Malta_sentence_193

On 16 July 1990, Malta, through its foreign minister, Guido de Marco, applied to join the European Union. Malta_sentence_194

After tough negotiations, a referendum was held on 8 March 2003, which resulted in a favourable vote. Malta_sentence_195

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. Malta_sentence_196

Malta joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. Malta_sentence_197

Following the European Council of 21–22 June 2007, Malta joined the eurozone on 1 January 2008. Malta_sentence_198

Politics Malta_section_10

Geography Malta_section_11

Main article: Geography of Malta Malta_sentence_199

Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean (in its eastern basin), some 80 km (50 mi) from southern Italy across the Malta Channel. Malta_sentence_200

Only the three largest islands – Malta (Malta), Gozo (Għawdex) and Comino (Kemmuna) – are inhabited. Malta_sentence_201

The islands of the archipelago lie on the Malta plateau, a shallow shelf formed from the high points of a land bridge between Sicily and North Africa that became isolated as sea levels rose after the last Ice Age. Malta_sentence_202

The archipelago is located on the African tectonic plate. Malta_sentence_203

Malta was considered an island of North Africa for centuries. Malta_sentence_204

Numerous bays along the indented coastline of the islands provide good harbours. Malta_sentence_205

The landscape consists of low hills with terraced fields. Malta_sentence_206

The highest point in Malta is Ta' Dmejrek, at 253 m (830 ft), near Dingli. Malta_sentence_207

Although there are some small rivers at times of high rainfall, there are no permanent rivers or lakes on Malta. Malta_sentence_208

However, some watercourses have fresh water running all year round at Baħrija near Ras ir-Raħeb, at l-Imtaħleb and San Martin, and at Lunzjata Valley in Gozo. Malta_sentence_209

Phytogeographically, Malta belongs to the Liguro-Tyrrhenian province of the Mediterranean Region within the Boreal Kingdom. Malta_sentence_210

According to the WWF, the territory of Malta belongs to the ecoregion of "Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands and Scrub". Malta_sentence_211

The minor islands that form part of the archipelago are uninhabited and include: Malta_sentence_212

Climate Malta_section_12

Main article: Climate of Malta Malta_sentence_213

Malta has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa), with mild winters and hot summers, hotter in the inland areas. Malta_sentence_214

Rain occurs mainly in autumn and winter, with summer being generally dry. Malta_sentence_215

The average yearly temperature is around 23 °C (73 °F) during the day and 15.5 °C (59.9 °F) at night. Malta_sentence_216

In the coldest month – January – the typical maximum temperature ranges from 12 to 18 °C (54 to 64 °F) during the day and minimum 6 to 12 °C (43 to 54 °F) at night. Malta_sentence_217

In the warmest month – August – the typical maximum temperature ranges from 28 to 34 °C (82 to 93 °F) during the day and minimum 20 to 24 °C (68 to 75 °F) at night. Malta_sentence_218

Amongst all capitals in the continent of Europe, Valletta – the capital of Malta has the warmest winters, with average temperatures of around 15 to 16 °C (59 to 61 °F) during the day and 9 to 10 °C (48 to 50 °F) at night in the period January–February. Malta_sentence_219

In March and December average temperatures are around 17 °C (63 °F) during the day and 11 °C (52 °F) at night. Malta_sentence_220

Large fluctuations in temperature are rare. Malta_sentence_221

Snow is very rare on the island, although various snowfalls have been recorded in the last century, the last one reported in various locations across Malta in 2014. Malta_sentence_222

The average annual sea temperature is 20 °C (68 °F), from 15–16 °C (59–61 °F) in February to 26 °C (79 °F) in August. Malta_sentence_223

In the 6 months – from June to November – the average sea temperature exceeds 20 °C (68 °F). Malta_sentence_224

The annual average relative humidity is high, averaging 75%, ranging from 65% in July (morning: 78% evening: 53%) to 80% in December (morning: 83% evening: 73%). Malta_sentence_225

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. Malta_sentence_226

This is about double that of cities in the northern half of Europe, for comparison: London – 1,461; however, in winter it has up to four times more sunshine; for comparison: in December, London has 37 hours of sunshine whereas Malta has above 160. Malta_sentence_227

Urbanisation Malta_section_13

According to Eurostat, Malta is composed of two larger urban zones nominally referred to as "Valletta" (the main island of Malta) and "Gozo". Malta_sentence_228

The main urban area covers the entire main island, with a population of around 400,000. Malta_sentence_229

The core of the urban area, the greater city of Valletta, has a population of 205,768. Malta_sentence_230

According to Demographia, the Valletta urban area has a population of 300,000. Malta_sentence_231

According to European Spatial Planning Observation Network, Malta is identified as functional urban area (FUA) with the population of 355,000. Malta_sentence_232

According to the United Nations, about 95 per cent of the area of Malta is urban and the number grows every year. Malta_sentence_233

Also, according to the results of ESPON and EU Commission studies, "the whole territory of Malta constitutes a single urban region". Malta_sentence_234

Occasionally in books, government publications and documents, and in some international institutions, Malta is referred to as a city-state. Malta_sentence_235

Sometimes Malta is listed in rankings concerning cities or metropolitan areas. Malta_sentence_236

Also, the Maltese coat-of-arms bears a mural crown described as "representing the fortifications of Malta and denoting a City State". Malta_sentence_237

Malta, with area of 316 km (122 sq mi) and population of 0.4 million, is one of the most densely populated countries worldwide. Malta_sentence_238

Flora Malta_section_14

The Maltese islands are home to a wide diversity of indigenous, sub-endemic and endemic plants. Malta_sentence_239

They feature many traits typical of a Mediterranean climate, such as drought resistance. Malta_sentence_240

The most common indigenous trees on the islands are olive (Olea europaea), carob (Ceratonia siliqua), fig (ficus carica), holm oak (Quericus ilex) and Aleppo pine (Pinus halpensis), while the most common non-native trees are eucalyptus, acacia and opuntia. Malta_sentence_241

Endemic plants include the national flower widnet il-baħar (Cheirolophus crassifolius), sempreviva ta' Malta (Helichrysum melitense), żigland t' Għawdex (Hyoseris frutescens) and ġiżi ta' Malta (Matthiola incana subsp. Malta_sentence_242 melitensis) while sub-endemics include kromb il-baħar (Jacobaea maritima subsp. Malta_sentence_243 sicula) and xkattapietra (Micromeria microphylla). Malta_sentence_244

The flora and biodiversity of Malta is severely endangered by habitat loss, invasive species and human intervention. Malta_sentence_245


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Economy Malta_section_15

Main article: Economy of Malta Malta_sentence_246

General Malta_section_16

Malta is classified as an advanced economy together with 32 other countries according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Malta_sentence_247

Until 1800, Malta depended on cotton, tobacco and its shipyards for exports. Malta_sentence_248

Once under British control, they came to depend on Malta Dockyard for support of the Royal Navy, especially during the Crimean War of 1854. Malta_sentence_249

The military base benefited craftsmen and all those who served the military. Malta_sentence_250

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. Malta_sentence_251

Ships stopping at Malta's docks for refuelling helped the Entrepôt trade, which brought additional benefits to the island. Malta_sentence_252

However, towards the end of the 19th century, the economy began declining, and by the 1940s Malta's economy was in serious crisis. Malta_sentence_253

One factor was the longer range of newer merchant ships that required fewer refuelling stops. Malta_sentence_254

Currently, Malta's major resources are limestone, a favourable geographic location and a productive labour force. Malta_sentence_255

Malta produces only about 20 percent of its food needs, has limited fresh water supplies because of the drought in the summer, and has no domestic energy sources, aside from the potential for solar energy from its plentiful sunlight. Malta_sentence_256

The economy is dependent on foreign trade (serving as a freight trans-shipment point), manufacturing (especially electronics and textiles), and tourism. Malta_sentence_257

Access to biocapacity in Malta is below the world average. Malta_sentence_258

In 2016, Malta had 0.6 global hectares of biocapacity per person within its territory, contrasted with a global average of 1.6 hectares per person. Malta_sentence_259

Additionally, residents of Malta exhibited an ecological footprint of consumption of 5.8 global hectares of biocapacity per person, resulting in a sizable biocapacity deficit. Malta_sentence_260

Film production has contributed to the Maltese economy. Malta_sentence_261

The film Sons of the Sea was the first shot in Malta, in 1925; by 2016, over 100 feature films had been entirely or partially filmed in the country since. Malta_sentence_262

Malta has served as a "double" for a wide variety of locations and historic periods including Ancient Greece, Ancient and modern Rome, Iraq, the Middle East and many more. Malta_sentence_263

The Maltese government introduced financial incentives for filmmakers in 2005. Malta_sentence_264

The current financial incentives to foreign productions as of 2015 stand at 25 per cent with an additional 2 per cent if Malta stands in as Malta; meaning a production can get up to 27 per cent back on their eligible spending incurred in Malta. Malta_sentence_265

In preparation for Malta's membership in the European Union, which it joined on 1 May 2004, it privatised some state-controlled firms and liberalised markets. Malta_sentence_266

For example, the government announced on 8 January 2007 that it was selling its 40 per cent stake in MaltaPost, to complete a privatisation process which had been ongoing for the previous five years. Malta_sentence_267

From 2000 to 2010, Malta privatised telecommunications, postal services, shipyards and Malta International Airport. Malta_sentence_268

Malta has a financial regulator, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), with a strong business development mindset, and the country has been successful in attracting gaming businesses, aircraft and ship registration, credit-card issuing banking licences and also fund administration. Malta_sentence_269

Service providers to these industries, including fiduciary and trustee business, are a core part of the growth strategy of the island. Malta_sentence_270

Malta has made strong headway in implementing EU Financial Services Directives including UCITs IV and soon AIFMD. Malta_sentence_271

As a base for alternative asset managers who must comply with new directives, Malta has attracted a number of key players including IDS, Iconic Funds, Apex Fund Services and TMF/Customs House. Malta_sentence_272

Malta and Tunisia in 2006 discussed the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for petroleum exploration. Malta_sentence_273

These discussions are also undergoing between Malta and Libya for similar arrangements. Malta_sentence_274

As of 2015, Malta did not have a property tax. Malta_sentence_275

Its property market, especially around the harbour area, was booming, with the prices of apartments in some towns like St Julian's, Sliema and Gzira skyrocketing. Malta_sentence_276

According to Eurostat data, Maltese GDP per capita stood at 88 per cent of the EU average in 2015 with €21,000. Malta_sentence_277

The National Development and Social Fund from the Individual Investor Programme, a citizenship by investment programme also known as the "citizenship scheme", has become a significant income sources for the government of Malta, adding 432,000,000 euro to the budget in 2018. Malta_sentence_278

This 'scheme' has a very low due-diligence and many doubtful Russian, Middle-eastern and Chinese have obtained a Maltese passport, which is also a European Union passport. Malta_sentence_279

In July 2020, the Labour government admitted this and has opted to stop it as from September 2020. Malta_sentence_280

Banking and finance Malta_section_17

The two largest commercial banks are Bank of Valletta and HSBC Bank Malta, both of which can trace their origins back to the 19th century. Malta_sentence_281

As of recently, digital banks such as Revolut have also increased in popularity. Malta_sentence_282

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. Malta_sentence_283

It was established by the Central Bank of Malta Act on 17 April 1968. Malta_sentence_284

The Maltese government entered ERM II on 4 May 2005, and adopted the euro as the country's currency on 1 January 2008. Malta_sentence_285

FinanceMalta is the quasi-governmental organisation tasked with marketing and educating business leaders in coming to Malta and runs seminars and events around the world highlighting the emerging strength of Malta as a jurisdiction for banking and finance and insurance. Malta_sentence_286

Transport Malta_section_18

Main articles: Transport in Malta and Malta bus Malta_sentence_287

Traffic in Malta drives on the left. Malta_sentence_288

Car ownership in Malta is exceedingly high, considering the very small size of the islands; it is the fourth-highest in the European Union. Malta_sentence_289

The number of registered cars in 1990 amounted to 182,254, giving an automobile density of 577/km (1,494/sq mi). Malta_sentence_290

Malta has 2,254 kilometres (1,401 miles) of road, 1,972 km (1,225 mi) (87.5 per cent) of which are paved and 282 km (175 mi) were unpaved (as of December 2003). Malta_sentence_291

The main roads of Malta from the southernmost point to the northernmost point are these: Triq Birżebbuġa in Birżebbuġa, Għar Dalam Road and Tal-Barrani Road in Żejtun, Santa Luċija Avenue in Paola, Aldo Moro Street (Trunk Road), 13 December Street and Ħamrun-Marsa Bypass in Marsa, Regional Road in Santa Venera/Msida/Gżira/San Ġwann, St Andrew's Road in Swieqi/Pembroke, Malta, Coast Road in Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Salina Road, Kennedy Drive, St. Paul's Bypass and Xemxija Hill in San Pawl il-Baħar, Mistra Hill, Wettinger Street (Mellieħa Bypass) and Marfa Road in Mellieħa. Malta_sentence_292

Buses (xarabank or karozza tal-linja) are the primary method of public transport, established in 1905. Malta_sentence_293

Malta's vintage buses operated in the Maltese islands up to 2011 and became popular tourist attractions in their own right. Malta_sentence_294

To this day they are depicted on many Maltese advertisements to promote tourism as well as on gifts and merchandise for tourists. Malta_sentence_295

The bus service underwent an extensive reform in July 2011. Malta_sentence_296

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). Malta_sentence_297

The public tender was won by Arriva Malta, a member of the Arriva group, which introduced a fleet of brand new buses, built by King Long especially for service by Arriva Malta and including a smaller fleet of articulated buses brought in from Arriva London. Malta_sentence_298

It also operated two smaller buses for an intra-Valletta route only and 61 nine-metre buses, which were used to ease congestion on high-density routes. Malta_sentence_299

Overall Arriva Malta operated 264 buses. Malta_sentence_300

On 1 January 2014 Arriva ceased operations in Malta due to financial difficulties, having been nationalised as Malta Public Transport by the Maltese government, with a new bus operator planned to take over their operations in the near future. Malta_sentence_301

The government chose Autobuses Urbanos de León as its preferred bus operator for the country in October 2014. Malta_sentence_302

The company took over the bus service on 8 January 2015, while retaining the name Malta Public Transport. Malta_sentence_303

It introduced the pre-pay 'tallinja card'. Malta_sentence_304

With lower fares than the walk-on rate, it can be topped up online. Malta_sentence_305

The card was initially not well received, as reported by several local news sites. Malta_sentence_306

During the first week of August 2015, another 40 buses of the Turkish make Otokar arrived and were put into service. Malta_sentence_307

From 1883 to 1931 Malta had a railway line that connected Valletta to the army barracks at Mtarfa via Mdina and a number of towns and villages. Malta_sentence_308

The railway fell into disuse and eventually closed altogether, following the introduction of electric trams and buses. Malta_sentence_309

At the height of the bombing of Malta during the Second World War, Mussolini announced that his forces had destroyed the railway system, but by the time war broke out, the railway had been mothballed for more than nine years. Malta_sentence_310

Malta has three large natural harbours on its main island: Malta_sentence_311


There are also two man-made harbours that serve a passenger and car ferry service that connects Ċirkewwa Harbour on Malta and Mġarr Harbour on Gozo. Malta_sentence_312

The ferry makes numerous runs each day. Malta_sentence_313

Malta International Airport (Ajruport Internazzjonali ta' Malta) is the only airport serving the Maltese islands. Malta_sentence_314

It is built on the land formerly occupied by the RAF Luqa air base. Malta_sentence_315

A heliport is also located there, but the scheduled service to Gozo ceased in 2006. Malta_sentence_316

The heliport in Gozo is at Xewkija. Malta_sentence_317

Since June 2007, Harbour Air Malta has operated a thrice-daily floatplane service between the sea terminal in Grand Harbour and Mgarr Harbour in Gozo. Malta_sentence_318

Two further airfields at Ta' Qali and Ħal Far operated during the Second World War and into the 1960s but are now closed. Malta_sentence_319

Today, Ta' Qali houses a national park, stadium, the Crafts Village visitor attraction and the Malta Aviation Museum. Malta_sentence_320

This museum preserves several aircraft, including Hurricane and Spitfire fighters that defended the island in the Second World War. Malta_sentence_321

The national airline is Air Malta, which is based at Malta International Airport and operates services to 36 destinations in Europe and North Africa. Malta_sentence_322

The owners of Air Malta are the Government of Malta (98 percent) and private investors (2 percent). Malta_sentence_323

Air Malta employs 1,547 staff. Malta_sentence_324

It has a 25 percent shareholding in Medavia. Malta_sentence_325

Air Malta has concluded over 191 interline ticketing agreements with other IATA airlines. Malta_sentence_326

It also has a codeshare agreement with Qantas covering three routes. Malta_sentence_327

In September 2007, Air Malta made two agreements with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways by which Air Malta wet-leased two Airbus aircraft to Etihad Airways for the winter period starting 1 September 2007, and provided operational support on another Airbus A320 aircraft which it leased to Etihad Airways. Malta_sentence_328

Communications Malta_section_19

The mobile penetration rate in Malta exceeded 100% by the end of 2009. Malta_sentence_329

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. Malta_sentence_330

Telephone and cellular subscriber numbers have eight digits. Malta_sentence_331

There are no area codes in Malta, but after inception, the original first two numbers, and currently the 3rd and 4th digit, were assigned according to the locality. Malta_sentence_332

Fixed line telephone numbers have the prefix 21 and 27, although businesses may have numbers starting 22 or 23. Malta_sentence_333

An example would be 2*80**** if from Żabbar, and 2*23**** if from Marsa. Malta_sentence_334

Gozitan landline numbers generally are assigned 2*56****. Malta_sentence_335

Mobile telephone numbers have the prefix 77, 79, 98 or 99. Malta_sentence_336

Malta's international calling code is +356. Malta_sentence_337

The number of pay-TV subscribers fell as customers switched to Internet Protocol television (IPTV): the number of IPTV subscribers doubled in the six months to June 2012. Malta_sentence_338

In early 2012, the government called for a national Fibre to the Home (FttH) network to be built, with a minimum broadband service being upgraded from 4Mbit/s to 100Mbit/s. Malta_sentence_339

Currency Malta_section_20

Main articles: Maltese euro coins and Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Malta) Malta_sentence_340

Maltese euro coins feature the Maltese cross on €2 and €1 coins, the coat of arms of Malta on the €0.50, €0.20 and €0.10 coins, and the Mnajdra Temples on the €0.05, €0.02 and €0.01 coins. Malta_sentence_341

Malta has produced collectors' coins with face value ranging from 10 to 50 euros. Malta_sentence_342

These coins continue an existing national practice of minting of silver and gold commemorative coins. Malta_sentence_343

Unlike normal issues, these coins are not accepted in all the eurozone. Malta_sentence_344

For instance, a €10 Maltese commemorative coin cannot be used in any other country. Malta_sentence_345

From its introduction in 1972 until the introduction of the Euro in 2008, the currency was the Maltese lira, which had replaced the Maltese pound. Malta_sentence_346

The pound replaced the Maltese scudo in 1825. Malta_sentence_347

Tourism Malta_section_21

Main article: Tourism in Malta Malta_sentence_348

Malta is a popular tourist destination, with 1.6 million tourists per year. Malta_sentence_349

Three times more tourists visit than there are residents. Malta_sentence_350

Tourism infrastructure has increased dramatically over the years and a number of hotels are present on the island, although overdevelopment and the destruction of traditional housing is of growing concern. Malta_sentence_351

An increasing number of Maltese now travel abroad on holiday. Malta_sentence_352

In recent years, Malta has advertised itself as a medical tourism destination, and a number of health tourism providers are developing the industry. Malta_sentence_353

However, no Maltese hospital has undergone independent international healthcare accreditation. Malta_sentence_354

Malta is popular with British medical tourists, pointing Maltese hospitals towards seeking UK-sourced accreditation, such as with the Trent Accreditation Scheme. Malta_sentence_355

Science and technology Malta_section_22

Malta signed a co-operation agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) for more-intensive co-operation in ESA projects. Malta_sentence_356

The Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) is the civil body responsible for the development of science and technology on an educational and social level. Malta_sentence_357

Most science students in Malta graduate from the University of Malta and are represented by S-Cubed (Science Student's Society), UESA (University Engineering Students Association) and ICTSA (University of Malta ICT Students' Association). Malta_sentence_358

Demographics Malta_section_23

Main article: Demographics of Malta Malta_sentence_359

Malta conducts a census of population and housing every ten years. Malta_sentence_360

The census held in November 2005 counted an estimated 96 percent of the population. Malta_sentence_361

A preliminary report was issued in April 2006 and the results were weighted to estimate for 100 percent of the population. Malta_sentence_362

Native Maltese people make up the majority of the island. Malta_sentence_363

However, there are minorities, the largest of which are Britons, many of whom are retirees. Malta_sentence_364

The population of Malta as of July 2011 was estimated at 408,000. Malta_sentence_365

As of 2005, 17 percent were aged 14 and under, 68 percent were within the 15–64 age bracket whilst the remaining 13 percent were 65 years and over. Malta_sentence_366

Malta's population density of 1,282 per square km (3,322/sq mi) is by far the highest in the EU and one of the highest in the world. Malta_sentence_367

By comparison, the average population density for the "World (land only, excluding Antarctica)" was 54/km (140/sq mi) as of July 2014. Malta_sentence_368

The only census year showing a fall in population was that of 1967, with a 1.7 per cent total decrease, attributable to a substantial number of Maltese residents who emigrated. Malta_sentence_369

The Maltese-resident population for 2004 was estimated to make up 97.0 per cent of the total resident population. Malta_sentence_370

All censuses since 1842 have shown a slight excess of females over males. Malta_sentence_371

The 1901 and 1911 censuses came closest to recording a balance. Malta_sentence_372

The highest female-to-male ratio was reached in 1957 (1088:1000) but since then the ratio has dropped continuously. Malta_sentence_373

The 2005 census showed a 1013:1000 female-to-male ratio. Malta_sentence_374

Population growth has slowed down, from +9.5 per cent between the 1985 and 1995 censuses, to +6.9 per cent between the 1995 and 2005 censuses (a yearly average of +0.7 per cent). Malta_sentence_375

The birth rate stood at 3860 (a decrease of 21.8 per cent from the 1995 census) and the death rate stood at 3025. Malta_sentence_376

Thus, there was a natural population increase of 835 (compared to +888 for 2004, of which over a hundred were foreign residents). Malta_sentence_377

The population's age composition is similar to the age structure prevalent in the EU. Malta_sentence_378

Since 1967 there was observed a trend indicating an ageing population, and is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. Malta_sentence_379

Malta's old-age-dependency-ratio rose from 17.2 percent in 1995 to 19.8 percent in 2005, reasonably lower than the EU's 24.9 percent average; 31.5 percent of the Maltese population is aged under 25 (compared to the EU's 29.1 percent); but the 50–64 age group constitutes 20.3 percent of the population, significantly higher than the EU's 17.9 percent. Malta_sentence_380

Malta's old-age-dependency-ratio is expected to continue rising steadily in the coming years. Malta_sentence_381

Maltese legislation recognises both civil and canonical (ecclesiastical) marriages. Malta_sentence_382

Annulments by the ecclesiastical and civil courts are unrelated and are not necessarily mutually endorsed. Malta_sentence_383

Malta voted in favour of divorce legislation in a referendum held on 28 May 2011. Malta_sentence_384

Abortion in Malta is illegal. Malta_sentence_385

A person must be 16 to marry. Malta_sentence_386

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. Malta_sentence_387

There is a constant trend that females are more likely than males to marry young. Malta_sentence_388

In 2005 there were 51 brides aged between 16 and 19, compared to 8 grooms. Malta_sentence_389

In 2018, the population of the Maltese Islands stood at 475,701. Malta_sentence_390

Males make up 50.5% of the population. Malta_sentence_391

The total fertility rate (TFR) as of 2016 was estimated at 1.45 children born/woman, which is below the replacement rate of 2.1. Malta_sentence_392

In 2012, 25.8 per cent of births were to unmarried women. Malta_sentence_393

The life expectancy in 2018 was estimated at 83. Malta_sentence_394

Languages Malta_section_24

Main article: Languages of Malta Malta_sentence_395

See also: § Education Malta_sentence_396

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. Malta_sentence_397

Previously, Sicilian was the official and cultural language of Malta from the 12th century, and the Tuscan dialect of Italian from the 16th century. Malta_sentence_398

Alongside Maltese, English is also an official language of the country and hence the laws of the land are enacted both in Maltese and English. Malta_sentence_399

However, article 74 of the Constitution states that "... if there is any conflict between the Maltese and the English texts of any law, the Maltese text shall prevail." Malta_sentence_400

Maltese is a Semitic language descended from the now extinct Sicilian-Arabic (Siculo-Arabic) dialect (from southern Italy) that developed during the Emirate of Sicily. Malta_sentence_401

The Maltese alphabet consists of 30 letters based on the Latin alphabet, including the diacritically altered letters ż, ċ and ġ, as well as the letters , ħ, and ie. Malta_sentence_402

Maltese is the only Semitic language with official status in the European Union. Malta_sentence_403

Maltese has a Semitic base with substantial borrowing from Sicilian, Italian, a little French, and more recently and increasingly, English. Malta_sentence_404

The hybrid character of Maltese was established by a long period of Maltese-Sicilian urban bilingualism gradually transforming rural speech and which ended in the early 19th century with Maltese emerging as the vernacular of the entire native population. Malta_sentence_405

The language includes different dialects that can vary greatly from one town to another or from one island to another. Malta_sentence_406

The Eurobarometer states that 97% percent of the Maltese population consider Maltese as mother tongue. Malta_sentence_407

Also, 88 percent of the population speak English, 66 percent speak Italian, and 17 percent speak French. Malta_sentence_408

This widespread knowledge of second languages makes Malta one of the most multilingual countries in the European Union. Malta_sentence_409

A study collecting public opinion on what language was "preferred" discovered that 86 percent of the population express a preference for Maltese, 12 percent for English, and 2 percent for Italian. Malta_sentence_410

Still, Italian television channels from Italy-based broadcasters, such as Mediaset and RAI, reach Malta and remain popular. Malta_sentence_411

Maltese Sign Language is used by signers in Malta. Malta_sentence_412

Religion Malta_section_25

Main article: Religion in Malta Malta_sentence_413

Further information: History of the Jews in Malta, Christianity in Malta, and Islam in Malta Malta_sentence_414

The predominant religion in Malta is Catholicism. Malta_sentence_415

The second article of the Constitution of Malta establishes Catholicism as the state religion and it is also reflected in various elements of Maltese culture, although entrenched provisions for the freedom of religion are made. Malta_sentence_416

There are more than 360 churches in Malta, Gozo, and Comino, or one church for every 1,000 residents. Malta_sentence_417

The parish church (Maltese: "il-parroċċa", or "il-knisja parrokkjali") is the architectural and geographic focal point of every Maltese town and village, and its main source of civic pride. Malta_sentence_418

This civic pride manifests itself in spectacular fashion during the local village festas, which mark the day of the patron saint of each parish with marching bands, religious processions, special Masses, fireworks (especially petards) and other festivities. Malta_sentence_419

Malta is an Apostolic See; the Acts of the Apostles tells of how St. Malta_sentence_420 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_sentence_421

As recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul spent three months on the island on his way to Rome, curing the sick including the father of Publius, the "chief man of the island". Malta_sentence_422

Various traditions are associated with this account. Malta_sentence_423

The shipwreck is said to have occurred in the place today known as St Paul's Bay. Malta_sentence_424

The Maltese saint, Saint Publius is said to have been made Malta's first bishop and a grotto in Rabat, now known as "St Paul's Grotto" (and in the vicinity of which evidence of Christian burials and rituals from the 3rd century AD has been found), is among the earliest known places of Christian worship on the island. Malta_sentence_425

Further evidence of Christian practices and beliefs during the period of Roman persecution appears in catacombs that lie beneath various sites around Malta, including St. Malta_sentence_426 Paul's Catacombs and St. Agatha's Catacombs in Rabat, just outside the walls of Mdina. Malta_sentence_427

The latter, in particular, were frescoed between 1200 and 1480, although invading Turks defaced many of them in the 1550s. Malta_sentence_428

There are also a number of cave churches, including the grotto at Mellieħa, which is a Shrine of the Nativity of Our Lady where, according to legend, St. Malta_sentence_429 Luke painted a picture of the Madonna. Malta_sentence_430

It has been a place of pilgrimage since the medieval period. Malta_sentence_431

The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon record that in 451 AD a certain Acacius was Bishop of Malta (Melitenus Episcopus). Malta_sentence_432

It is also known that in 501 AD, a certain Constantinus, Episcopus Melitenensis, was present at the Fifth Ecumenical Council. Malta_sentence_433

In 588 AD, Pope Gregory I deposed Tucillus, Miletinae civitatis episcopus and the clergy and people of Malta elected his successor Trajan in 599 AD. Malta_sentence_434

The last recorded Bishop of Malta before the invasion of the islands was a Greek named Manas, who was subsequently incarcerated at Palermo. Malta_sentence_435

Maltese historian Giovanni Francesco Abela states that following their conversion to Christianity at the hand of St. Malta_sentence_436 Paul, the Maltese retained their Christian religion, despite the Fatimid invasion. Malta_sentence_437

Abela's writings describe Malta as a divinely ordained "bulwark of Christian, European civilization against the spread of Mediterranean Islam". Malta_sentence_438

The native Christian community that welcomed Roger I of Sicily was further bolstered by immigration to Malta from Italy, in the 12th and 13th centuries. Malta_sentence_439

For centuries, the Church in Malta was subordinate to the Diocese of Palermo, except when it was under Charles of Anjou, who appointed bishops for Malta, as did – on rare occasions – the Spanish and later, the Knights. Malta_sentence_440

Since 1808 all bishops of Malta have been Maltese. Malta_sentence_441

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. Malta_sentence_442

It is worth noting that the Office of the Inquisitor of Malta had a very long tenure on the island following its establishment in 1530: the last Inquisitor departed from the Islands in 1798 after the Knights capitulated to the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte. Malta_sentence_443

During the period of the Republic of Venice, several Maltese families emigrated to Corfu. Malta_sentence_444

Their descendants account for about two-thirds of the community of some 4,000 Catholics that now live on that island. Malta_sentence_445

The patron saints of Malta are Saint Paul, Saint Publius, and Saint Agatha. Malta_sentence_446

Although not a patron saint, St George Preca (San Ġorġ Preca) is greatly revered as the second canonised Maltese saint after St. Publius. Malta_sentence_447

Pope Benedict XVI canonised Preca on 3 June 2007. Malta_sentence_448

A number of Maltese individuals are recognised as Blessed, including Maria Adeodata Pisani and Nazju Falzon, with Pope John Paul II having beatified them in 2001. Malta_sentence_449

Various Catholic religious orders are present in Malta, including the Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites and Little Sisters of the Poor. Malta_sentence_450

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. Malta_sentence_451

There are approximately 600 Jehovah's Witnesses. Malta_sentence_452

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Bible Baptist Church, and the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches each has about 60 affiliates. Malta_sentence_453

There are also some churches of other denominations, including St. Malta_sentence_454 Andrew's Scots Church in Valletta (a joint Presbyterian and Methodist congregation) and St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, and a Seventh-day Adventist church in Birkirkara. Malta_sentence_455

A New Apostolic Church congregation was founded in 1983 in Gwardamangia. Malta_sentence_456

The Jewish population of Malta reached its peak in the Middle Ages under Norman rule. Malta_sentence_457

In 1479, Malta and Sicily came under Aragonese rule and the Alhambra Decree of 1492 forced all Jews to leave the country, permitting them to take with them only a few of their belongings. Malta_sentence_458

Several dozen Maltese Jews may have converted to Christianity at the time to remain in the country. Malta_sentence_459

Today, there is one Jewish congregation. Malta_sentence_460

There is one Muslim mosque, the Mariam Al-Batool Mosque. Malta_sentence_461

A Muslim primary school recently opened. Malta_sentence_462

Of the estimated 3,000 Muslims in Malta, approximately 2,250 are foreigners, approximately 600 are naturalised citizens, and approximately 150 are native-born Maltese. Malta_sentence_463

Zen Buddhism and the Baháʼí Faith claim some 40 members. Malta_sentence_464

In a survey held by the Malta Today, the overwhelming majority of the Maltese population adheres to Christianity (95.2%) with Catholicism as the main denomination (93.9%). Malta_sentence_465

According to the same report, 4.5% of the population declared themselves as either atheist or agnostic, one of the lowest figures in Europe. Malta_sentence_466

According to a Eurobarometer survey conducted in 2019, 83% of the population identified as Catholic. Malta_sentence_467

The number of atheists has doubled from 2014 to 2018. Malta_sentence_468

Non-religious people have a higher risk of suffering from discrimination, such as lack of trust by society and unequal treatment by institutions. Malta_sentence_469

In the 2015 edition of the annual Freedom of Thought Report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union, Malta was in the category of "severe discrimination". Malta_sentence_470

In 2016, following the abolishment of blasphemy law, Malta was shifted to the category of "systematic discrimination" (which is the same category as most EU countries). Malta_sentence_471

Migration Malta_section_26

Inbound migration Malta_section_27

Main article: Immigration to Malta Malta_sentence_472

Most of the foreign community in Malta, predominantly active or retired British nationals and their dependents, is centred on Sliema and surrounding modern suburbs. Malta_sentence_473

Other smaller foreign groups include Italians, Libyans, and Serbians, many of whom have assimilated into the Maltese nation over the decades. Malta_sentence_474

Malta is also home to a large number of foreign workers who migrated to the island to try and earn a better living. Malta_sentence_475

This migration was driven pre-dominantly at a time where the Maltese economy was steadily booming yet the cost and quality of living on the island remained relatively stable. Malta_sentence_476

In recent years however the local Maltese housing index has doubled pushing property and rental prices to very high and almost unaffordable levels in the Maltese islands with the slight exception of Gozo. Malta_sentence_477

Salaries in Malta have risen very slowly and very marginally over the years making life on the island much harder than it was a few years ago. Malta_sentence_478

As a direct result, a significant level of uncertainty exists among expats in Malta as to whether their financial situation on the island will remain affordable in the years going forth, with many already barely living paycheck to paycheck and others re-locating to other European countries altogether. Malta_sentence_479

Since the late 20th century, Malta has become a transit country for migration routes from Africa towards Europe. Malta_sentence_480

As a member of the European Union and of the Schengen Agreement, Malta is bound by the Dublin Regulation to process all claims for asylum by those asylum seekers that enter EU territory for the first time in Malta. Malta_sentence_481

Irregular migrants who land in Malta are subject to a compulsory detention policy, being held in several camps organised by the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM), including those near Ħal Far and Ħal Safi. Malta_sentence_482

The compulsory detention policy has been denounced by several NGOs, and in July 2010, the European Court of Human Rights found that Malta's detention of migrants was arbitrary, lacking in adequate procedures to challenge detention, and in breach of its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. Malta_sentence_483

In January 2014, Malta started granting citizenship for a €650,000 contribution plus investments, contingent on residence and criminal background checks. Malta_sentence_484

This 'golden passport' citizenship scheme has been criticized on multiple occasions as a fraudulent act by the Maltese Government since it has come under scrutiny for selling citizenship to a number of dubious and/or criminal individuals from non-European nation countries. Malta_sentence_485

Concerns as to whether the Maltese citizenship scheme is allowing an influx of such individuals into the greater European Union have been raised by both the public as well as the European Council on multiple occasions. Malta_sentence_486

On 8 September 2020, Amnesty International criticized Malta for "illegal tactics" in the Mediterranean, against immigrants who were attempting to cross from North Africa. Malta_sentence_487

The reports claimed that the government's approach might have led to avoidable deaths. Malta_sentence_488

Outbound migration Malta_section_28

Main article: Emigration from Malta Malta_sentence_489

In the 19th century, most emigration from Malta was to North Africa and the Middle East, although rates of return migration to Malta were high. Malta_sentence_490

Nonetheless, Maltese communities formed in these regions. Malta_sentence_491

By 1900, for example, British consular estimates suggest that there were 15,326 Maltese in Tunisia, and in 1903 it was claimed that 15,000 people of Maltese origin were living in Algeria. Malta_sentence_492

Malta experienced significant emigration as a result of the collapse of a construction boom in 1907 and after the Second World War, when the birth rate increased significantly, but in the 20th century, most emigrants went to destinations in the New World, particularly to Australia, Canada, and the United States. Malta_sentence_493

After the Second World War, Malta's Emigration Department would assist emigrants with the cost of their travel. Malta_sentence_494

Between 1948 and 1967, 30 percent of the population emigrated. Malta_sentence_495

Between 1946 and the late-1970s, over 140,000 people left Malta on the assisted passage scheme, with 57.6% migrating to Australia, 22% to the UK, 13% to Canada and 7% to the United States. Malta_sentence_496

Emigration dropped dramatically after the mid-1970s and has since ceased to be a social phenomenon of significance. Malta_sentence_497

However, since Malta joined the EU in 2004 expatriate communities emerged in a number of European countries particularly in Belgium and Luxembourg. Malta_sentence_498

Education Malta_section_29

Main article: Education in Malta Malta_sentence_499

See also: List of schools in Malta Malta_sentence_500

Primary schooling has been compulsory since 1946; secondary education up to the age of sixteen was made compulsory in 1971. Malta_sentence_501

The state and the Church provide education free of charge, both running a number of schools in Malta and Gozo, including De La Salle College in Cospicua, St. Aloysius' College in Birkirkara, St. Malta_sentence_502 Paul's Missionary College in Rabat, Malta, St. Joseph's School in Blata l-Bajda and Saint Monica Girls' School in Mosta and Saint Augustine College, with its primary sector in Marsa and its secondary in Pieta. Malta_sentence_503

As of 2006, state schools are organised into networks known as Colleges and incorporate kindergarten schools, primary and secondary schools. Malta_sentence_504

A number of private schools are run in Malta, including San Andrea School and San Anton School in the valley of L-Imselliet (l/o Mġarr), St. Malta_sentence_505 Martin's College in Swatar and St. Michael's School in San Ġwann. Malta_sentence_506

St. Catherine's High School, Pembroke offers an International Foundation Course for students wishing to learn English before entering mainstream education. Malta_sentence_507

As of 2008, there are two international schools, Verdala International School and QSI Malta. Malta_sentence_508

The state pays a portion of the teachers' salary in Church schools. Malta_sentence_509

Education in Malta is based on the British model. Malta_sentence_510

Primary school lasts six years. Malta_sentence_511

Pupils sit for SEC O-level examinations at the age of 16, with passes obligatory in certain subjects such as Mathematics, a minimum of one science subject (Physics, Biology or Chemistry), English and Maltese. Malta_sentence_512

Upon obtaining these subjects, Pupils may opt to continue studying at a sixth form college such as Gan Frangisk Abela Junior College, St. Aloysius' College, Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary, De La Salle College, St Edward's College, or else at another post-secondary institution such as MCAST. Malta_sentence_513

The sixth form course lasts for two years, at the end of which students sit for the matriculation examination. Malta_sentence_514

Subject to their performance, students may then apply for an undergraduate degree or diploma. Malta_sentence_515

The adult literacy rate is 99.5 per cent. Malta_sentence_516

Maltese and English are both used to teach pupils at the primary and secondary school level, and both languages are also compulsory subjects. Malta_sentence_517

Public schools tend to use both Maltese and English in a balanced manner. Malta_sentence_518

Private schools prefer to use English for teaching, as is also the case with most departments of the University of Malta; this has a limiting effect on the capacity and development of the Maltese language. Malta_sentence_519

Most university courses are in English. Malta_sentence_520

Of the total number of pupils studying a first foreign language at secondary level, 51 per cent take Italian whilst 38 per cent take French. Malta_sentence_521

Other choices include German, Russian, Spanish, Latin, Chinese and Arabic. Malta_sentence_522

Malta is also a popular destination to study the English language, attracting over 80,000 students in 2012. Malta_sentence_523

Healthcare Malta_section_30

Main article: Healthcare in Malta Malta_sentence_524

Malta has a long history of providing publicly funded health care. Malta_sentence_525

The first hospital recorded in the country was already functioning by 1372. Malta_sentence_526

The first hospital exclusively for women was opened in 1625 by Caterina Scappi, known as "La Senese". Malta_sentence_527

Today, Malta has both a public healthcare system, known as the government healthcare service, where healthcare is free at the point of delivery, and a private healthcare system. Malta_sentence_528

Malta has a strong general practitioner-delivered primary care base and the public hospitals provide secondary and tertiary care. Malta_sentence_529

The Maltese Ministry of Health advises foreign residents to take out private medical insurance. Malta_sentence_530

Malta also boasts voluntary organisations such as Alpha Medical (Advanced Care), the Emergency Fire & Rescue Unit (E.F.R.U. Malta_sentence_531

), St John Ambulance and Red Cross Malta who provide first aid/nursing services during events involving crowds. Malta_sentence_532

The Mater Dei Hospital, Malta's primary hospital, opened in 2007. Malta_sentence_533

It has one of the largest medical buildings in Europe. Malta_sentence_534

The University of Malta has a medical school and a Faculty of Health Sciences, the latter offering diploma, degree (BSc) and postgraduate degree courses in a number of health care disciplines. Malta_sentence_535

The Medical Association of Malta represents practitioners of the medical profession. Malta_sentence_536

The Malta Medical Students' Association (MMSA) is a separate body representing Maltese medical students, and is a member of EMSA and IFMSA. Malta_sentence_537

MIME, the Maltese Institute for Medical Education, is an institute set up recently to provide CME to physicians in Malta as well as medical students. Malta_sentence_538

The Foundation Program followed in the UK has been introduced in Malta to stem the 'brain drain' of newly graduated physicians to the British Isles. Malta_sentence_539

The Malta Association of Dental Students (MADS) is a student association set up to promote the rights of Dental Surgery Students studying within the faculty of Dental Surgery of the University of Malta. Malta_sentence_540

It is affiliated with IADS, the International Association of Dental Students. Malta_sentence_541

See also Health in Malta Malta_sentence_542

Culture Malta_section_31

Main article: Culture of Malta Malta_sentence_543

The culture of Malta reflects the various cultures, from the Phoenicians to the British, that have come into contact with the Maltese Islands throughout the centuries, including neighbouring Mediterranean cultures, and the cultures of the nations that ruled Malta for long periods of time prior to its independence in 1964. Malta_sentence_544

Music Malta_section_32

Main article: Music of Malta Malta_sentence_545

While Maltese music today is largely Western, traditional Maltese music includes what is known as għana. Malta_sentence_546

This consists of background folk guitar music, while a few people, generally men, take it in turns to argue a point in a sing-song voice. Malta_sentence_547

The aim of the lyrics, which are improvised, is to create a friendly yet challenging atmosphere, and it takes a number of years of practice to be able to combine the required artistic qualities with the ability to debate effectively. Malta_sentence_548

Literature Malta_section_33

Main article: Maltese literature Malta_sentence_549

Documented Maltese literature is over 200 years old. Malta_sentence_550

However, a recently unearthed love ballad testifies to literary activity in the local tongue from the Medieval period. Malta_sentence_551

Malta followed a Romantic literary tradition, culminating in the works of Dun Karm Psaila, Malta's National Poet. Malta_sentence_552

Subsequent writers like Ruzar Briffa and Karmenu Vassallo tried to estrange themselves from the rigidity of formal themes and versification. Malta_sentence_553

The next generation of writers, including Karl Schembri and Immanuel Mifsud, widened the tracks further, especially in prose and poetry. Malta_sentence_554

Architecture Malta_section_34

Main article: Architecture of Malta Malta_sentence_555

Maltese architecture has been influenced by many different Mediterranean cultures and British architecture over its history. Malta_sentence_556

The first settlers on the island constructed Ġgantija, one of the oldest manmade freestanding structures in the world. Malta_sentence_557

The Neolithic temple builders 3800–2500 BC endowed the numerous temples of Malta and Gozo with intricate bas relief designs, including spirals evocative of the tree of life and animal portraits, designs painted in red ochre, ceramics and a vast collection of human form sculptures, particularly the Venus of Malta. Malta_sentence_558

These can be viewed at the temples themselves (most notably, the Hypogeum and Tarxien Temples), and at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta. Malta_sentence_559

Malta's temples such as Imnajdra are full of history and have a story behind them. Malta_sentence_560

Malta is currently undergoing several large-scale building projects, including the construction of SmartCity Malta, the M-Towers and Pendergardens, while areas such as the Valletta Waterfront and Tigné Point have been or are being renovated. Malta_sentence_561

The Roman period introduced highly decorative mosaic floors, marble colonnades, and classical statuary, remnants of which are beautifully preserved and presented in the Roman Domus, a country villa just outside the walls of Mdina. Malta_sentence_562

The early Christian frescoes that decorate the catacombs beneath Malta reveal a propensity for eastern, Byzantine tastes. Malta_sentence_563

These tastes continued to inform the endeavours of medieval Maltese artists, but they were increasingly influenced by the Romanesque and Southern Gothic movements. Malta_sentence_564

Art Malta_section_35

Towards the end of the 15th century, Maltese artists, like their counterparts in neighbouring Sicily, came under the influence of the School of Antonello da Messina, which introduced Renaissance ideals and concepts to the decorative arts in Malta. Malta_sentence_565

The artistic heritage of Malta blossomed under the Knights of St. John, who brought Italian and Flemish Mannerist painters to decorate their palaces and the churches of these islands, most notably, Matteo Perez d'Aleccio, whose works appear in the Magisterial Palace and in the Conventual Church of St. John in Valletta, and Filippo Paladini, who was active in Malta from 1590 to 1595. Malta_sentence_566

For many years, Mannerism continued to inform the tastes and ideals of local Maltese artists. Malta_sentence_567

The arrival in Malta of Caravaggio, who painted at least seven works during his 15-month stay on these islands, further revolutionised local art. Malta_sentence_568

Two of Caravaggio's most notable works, The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Jerome Writing, are on display in the Oratory of the Conventual Church of St. John. Malta_sentence_569

His legacy is evident in the works of local artists Giulio Cassarino (1582–1637) and Stefano Erardi (1630–1716). Malta_sentence_570

However, the Baroque movement that followed was destined to have the most enduring impact on Maltese art and architecture. Malta_sentence_571

The glorious vault paintings of the celebrated Calabrese artist, Mattia Preti transformed the severe, Mannerist interior of the Conventual Church St. John into a Baroque masterpiece. Malta_sentence_572

Preti spent the last 40 years of his life in Malta, where he created many of his finest works, now on display in the Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta. Malta_sentence_573

During this period, local sculptor Melchior Gafà (1639–1667) emerged as one of the top Baroque sculptors of the Roman School. Malta_sentence_574

During the 17th and 18th century, Neapolitan and Rococo influences emerged in the works of the Italian painters Luca Giordano (1632–1705) and Francesco Solimena (1657–1747), and these developments can be seen in the work of their Maltese contemporaries such as Gio Nicola Buhagiar (1698–1752) and Francesco Zahra (1710–1773). Malta_sentence_575

The Rococo movement was greatly enhanced by the relocation to Malta of Antoine de Favray (1706–1798), who assumed the position of court painter to Grand Master Pinto in 1744. Malta_sentence_576

Neo-classicism made some inroads among local Maltese artists in the late-18th century, but this trend was reversed in the early 19th century, as the local Church authorities – perhaps in an effort to strengthen Catholic resolve against the perceived threat of Protestantism during the early days of British rule in Malta – favoured and avidly promoted the religious themes embraced by the Nazarene movement of artists. Malta_sentence_577

Romanticism, tempered by the naturalism introduced to Malta by Giuseppe Calì, informed the "salon" artists of the early 20th century, including Edward and Robert Caruana Dingli. Malta_sentence_578

Parliament established the National School of Art in the 1920s. Malta_sentence_579

During the reconstruction period that followed the Second World War, the emergence of the "Modern Art Group", whose members included Josef Kalleya (1898–1998), George Preca (1909–1984), Anton Inglott (1915–1945), Emvin Cremona (1919–1987), Frank Portelli (1922–2004), Antoine Camilleri (1922–2005), Gabriel Caruana (1929-2018) and Esprit Barthet (1919–1999) greatly enhanced the local art scene. Malta_sentence_580

This group of forward-looking artists came together forming an influential pressure group known as the Modern Art Group. Malta_sentence_581

Together they forced the Maltese public to take seriously modern aesthetics and succeeded in playing a leading role in the renewal of Maltese art. Malta_sentence_582

Most of Malta's modern artists have in fact studied in Art institutions in England, or on the continent, leading to the explosive development of a wide spectrum of views and to a diversity of artistic expression that has remained characteristic of contemporary Maltese art. Malta_sentence_583

In Valletta, the National Museum of Fine Arts featured work from artists such as H. Malta_sentence_584 Craig Hanna. Malta_sentence_585

In 2018 the national collection of fine arts was moved and put on display in the new National Museum of Art, MUŻA, located at Auberge d’Italie in Valletta. Malta_sentence_586

Cuisine Malta_section_36

Main articles: Maltese cuisine and List of Maltese dishes Malta_sentence_587

Maltese cuisine shows strong Sicilian and English influences as well as influences of Spanish, Maghrebin and Provençal cuisines. Malta_sentence_588

A number of regional variations, particularly with regards to Gozo, can be noted as well as seasonal variations associated with the seasonal availability of produce and Christian feasts (such as Lent, Easter and Christmas). Malta_sentence_589

Food has been important historically in the development of a national identity in particular the traditional fenkata (i.e., the eating of stewed or fried rabbit). Malta_sentence_590

Potatoes are a staple of the Maltese diet as well. Malta_sentence_591

A number of grapes are endemic to Malta, including Girgentina and Ġellewża. Malta_sentence_592

There is a strong wine industry in Malta, with significant production of wines using these native grapes, as well as locally grown grapes of other more common varietals, such as Chardonnay and Syrah. Malta_sentence_593

A number of wines have achieved Protected Designation of Origin, with wines produced from grapes cultivated in Malta and Gozo designated as “DOK” wines, that is Denominazzjoni ta’ l-Oriġini Kontrollata. Malta_sentence_594

Customs Malta_section_37

Main article: Maltese folklore Malta_sentence_595

A 2010 Charities Aid Foundation study found that the Maltese were the most generous people in the world, with 83% contributing to charity. Malta_sentence_596

Maltese folktales include various stories about mysterious creatures and supernatural events. Malta_sentence_597

These were most comprehensively compiled by the scholar (and pioneer in Maltese archaeology) Manwel Magri in his core criticism "Ħrejjef Missirijietna" ("Fables from our Forefathers"). Malta_sentence_598

This collection of material inspired subsequent researchers and academics to gather traditional tales, fables and legends from all over the Archipelago. Malta_sentence_599

Magri's work also inspired a series of comic books (released by Klabb Kotba Maltin in 1984): the titles included Bin is-Sultan Jiźźewweġ x-Xebba tat-Tronġiet Mewwija and Ir-Rjieħ. Malta_sentence_600

Many of these stories have been popularly re-written as Children's literature by authors writing in Maltese, such as Trevor Żahra. Malta_sentence_601

While giants, witches, and dragons feature in many of the stories, some contain entirely Maltese creatures like the Kaw kaw, Il-Belliegħa and L-Imħalla among others. Malta_sentence_602

The traditional Maltese obsession with maintaining spiritual (or ritual) purity means that many of these creatures have the role of guarding forbidden or restricted areas and attacking individuals who broke the strict codes of conduct that characterised the island's pre-industrial society. Malta_sentence_603

Traditions Malta_section_38

Traditional Maltese proverbs reveal cultural importance of childbearing and fertility: "iż-żwieġ mingħajr tarbija ma fihx tgawdija" (a childless marriage cannot be a happy one). Malta_sentence_604

This is a belief that Malta shares with many other Mediterranean cultures. Malta_sentence_605

In Maltese folktales the local variant of the classic closing formula, "and they all lived happily ever after" is "u għammru u tgħammru, u spiċċat" (and they lived together, and they had children together, and the tale is finished). Malta_sentence_606

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_sentence_607

Pregnant women are encouraged to satisfy their cravings for specific foods, out of fear that their unborn child will bear a representational birth mark (Maltese: xewqa, literally "desire" or "craving"). Malta_sentence_608

Maltese and Sicilian women also share certain traditions that are believed to predict the sex of an unborn child, such as the cycle of the moon on the anticipated date of birth, whether the baby is carried "high" or "low" during pregnancy, and the movement of a wedding ring, dangled on a string above the abdomen (sideways denoting a girl, back and forth denoting a boy). Malta_sentence_609

Traditionally, Maltese newborns were baptised as promptly as possible, should the child die in infancy without receiving this vital Sacrament; and partly because according to Maltese (and Sicilian) folklore an unbaptised child is not yet a Christian, but "still a Turk". Malta_sentence_610

Traditional Maltese delicacies served at a baptismal feast include biskuttini tal-magħmudija (almond macaroons covered in white or pink icing), it-torta tal-marmorata (a spicy, heart-shaped tart of chocolate-flavoured almond paste), and a liqueur known as rożolin, made with rose petals, violets, and almonds. Malta_sentence_611

On a child's first birthday, in a tradition that still survives today, Maltese parents would organise a game known as il-quċċija, where a variety of symbolic objects would be randomly placed around the seated child. Malta_sentence_612

These may include a hard-boiled egg, a Bible, crucifix or rosary beads, a book, and so on. Malta_sentence_613

Whichever object the child shows the most interest in is said to reveal the child's path and fortunes in adulthood. Malta_sentence_614

Money refers to a rich future while a book expresses intelligence and a possible career as a teacher. Malta_sentence_615

Infants who select a pencil or pen will be writers. Malta_sentence_616

Choosing Bibles or rosary beads refers to a clerical or monastic life. Malta_sentence_617

If the child chooses a hard-boiled egg, it will have a long life and many children. Malta_sentence_618

More recent additions include calculators (refers to accounting), thread (fashion) and wooden spoons (cooking and a great appetite). Malta_sentence_619

Traditional Maltese weddings featured the bridal party walking in procession beneath an ornate canopy, from the home of the bride's family to the parish church, with singers trailing behind serenading the bride and groom. Malta_sentence_620

The Maltese word for this custom is il-ġilwa. Malta_sentence_621

This custom along with many others has long since disappeared from the islands, in the face of modern practices. Malta_sentence_622

New wives would wear the għonnella, a traditional item of Maltese clothing. Malta_sentence_623

However, it is no longer worn in modern Malta. Malta_sentence_624

Today's couples are married in churches or chapels in the village or town of their choice. Malta_sentence_625

The nuptials are usually followed by a lavish and joyous wedding reception, often including several hundred guests. Malta_sentence_626

Occasionally, couples will try to incorporate elements of the traditional Maltese wedding in their celebration. Malta_sentence_627

A resurgent interest in the traditional wedding was evident in May 2007, when thousands of Maltese and tourists attended a traditional Maltese wedding in the style of the 16th century, in the village of Żurrieq. Malta_sentence_628

This included il-ġilwa, which led the bride and groom to a wedding ceremony that took place on the parvis of St. Andrew's Chapel. Malta_sentence_629

The reception that followed featured folklore music (għana) and dancing. Malta_sentence_630

Festivals Malta_section_39

Local festivals, similar to those in Southern Italy, are commonplace in Malta and Gozo, celebrating weddings, christenings and, most prominently, saints' days, honouring the patron saint of the local parish. Malta_sentence_631

On saints' days, in the morning, the festa reaches its apex with a High Mass featuring a sermon on the life and achievements of the patron saint. Malta_sentence_632

In the evening, then, a statue of the religious patron is taken around the local streets in solemn procession, with the faithful following in respectful prayer. Malta_sentence_633

The atmosphere of religious devotion is preceded by several days of celebration and revelry: band marches, fireworks, and late-night parties. Malta_sentence_634

Carnival (Maltese: il-karnival ta' Malta) has had an important place on the cultural calendar after Grand Master Piero de Ponte introduced it to the islands in 1535. Malta_sentence_635

It is held during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday, and typically includes masked balls, fancy dress and grotesque mask competitions, lavish late-night parties, a colourful, ticker-tape parade of allegorical floats presided over by King Carnival (Maltese: ir-Re tal-Karnival), marching bands and costumed revellers. Malta_sentence_636

Holy Week (Maltese: il-Ġimgħa Mqaddsa) starts on Palm Sunday (Ħadd il-Palm) and ends on Easter Sunday (Ħadd il-Għid). Malta_sentence_637

Numerous religious traditions, most of them inherited from one generation to the next, are part of the paschal celebrations in the Maltese Islands, honouring the death and resurrection of Jesus. Malta_sentence_638

Mnarja, or l-Imnarja (pronounced lim-nar-ya) is one of the most important dates on the Maltese cultural calendar. Malta_sentence_639

Officially, it is a national festival dedicated to the feast of Saints Peter and St. Malta_sentence_640 Paul. Malta_sentence_641

Its roots can be traced back to the pagan Roman feast of Luminaria (literally, "the illumination"), when torches and bonfires lit up the early summer night of 29 June. Malta_sentence_642

A national feast since the rule of the Knights, Mnarja is a traditional Maltese festival of food, religion and music. Malta_sentence_643

The festivities still commence today with the reading of the "bandu", an official governmental announcement, which has been read on this day in Malta since the 16th century. Malta_sentence_644

Originally, Mnarja was celebrated outside St. Paul's Grotto, in the north of Malta. Malta_sentence_645

However, by 1613 the focus of the festivities had shifted to the Cathedral of St. Malta_sentence_646 Paul, in Mdina, and featured torchlight processions, the firing of 100 petards, horseraces, and races for men, boys, and slaves. Malta_sentence_647

Modern Mnarja festivals take place in and around the woodlands of Buskett, just outside the town of Rabat. Malta_sentence_648

It is said that under the Knights, this was the one day in the year when the Maltese were allowed to hunt and eat wild rabbit, which was otherwise reserved for the hunting pleasures of the Knights. Malta_sentence_649

The close connection between Mnarja and rabbit stew (Maltese: "fenkata") remains strong today. Malta_sentence_650

In 1854 British governor William Reid launched an agricultural show at Buskett which is still being held today. Malta_sentence_651

The farmers' exhibition is still a seminal part of the Mnarja festivities today. Malta_sentence_652

Mnarja today is one of the few occasions when participants may hear traditional Maltese "għana". Malta_sentence_653

Traditionally, grooms would promise to take their brides to Mnarja during the first year of marriage. Malta_sentence_654

For luck, many of the brides would attend in their wedding gown and veil, although this custom has long since disappeared from the islands. Malta_sentence_655

Isle of MTV is a one-day music festival produced and broadcast on an annual basis by MTV. Malta_sentence_656

The festival has been arranged annually in Malta since 2007, with major pop artists performing each year. Malta_sentence_657

2012 saw the performances of worldwide acclaimed artists Flo Rida, Nelly Furtado and at Fosos Square in Floriana. Malta_sentence_658

Over 50,000 people attended, which marked the biggest attendance so far. Malta_sentence_659

In 2009 the first New Year's Eve street party was organised in Malta, parallel to what major countries in the world organise. Malta_sentence_660

Although the event was not highly advertised, and was controversial due to the closing of an arterial street on the day, it is deemed to have been successful and will most likely be organised every year. Malta_sentence_661

The Malta International Fireworks Festival is an annual festival that has been arranged in the Grand Harbour of Valletta since 2003. Malta_sentence_662

The festival offers fireworks displays of a number of Maltese as well as foreign fireworks factories. Malta_sentence_663

The festival is usually held in the last week of April every year. Malta_sentence_664

Media Malta_section_40

Further information: List of newspapers in Malta, List of radio stations in Malta, and Television in Malta Malta_sentence_665

The most widely read and financially the strongest newspapers are published by Allied Newspapers Ltd., mainly The Times of Malta (27 percent) and its Sunday edition The Sunday Times of Malta (51.6 percent). Malta_sentence_666

Due to bilingualism half of the newspapers are published in English and the other half in Maltese. Malta_sentence_667

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. Malta_sentence_668

Its sister paper, L-Orizzont ("The Horizon"), is the Maltese daily with the biggest circulation. Malta_sentence_669

There is a high number of daily or weekly newspapers; there is one paper for every 28,000 people. Malta_sentence_670

Advertising, sales, and subsidies are the three main methods of financing newspapers and magazines. Malta_sentence_671

However, most of the papers and magazines tied to institutions are subsidised by the same institutions, they depend on advertising or subsidies from their owners. Malta_sentence_672

There are eight terrestrial television channels in Malta: TVM, TVM2, Parliament TV, One, NET Television, Smash Television, F Living and Xejk. Malta_sentence_673

These channels are transmitted by digital terrestrial, free-to-air signals on UHF channel 66. Malta_sentence_674

The state and political parties subsidise most of the funding of these television stations. Malta_sentence_675

TVM, TVM2, and Parliament TV are operated by Public Broadcasting Services, the national broadcaster, and members of the EBU. Malta_sentence_676 Communications Ltd., the owner of NET Television, and One Productions Ltd., the owner of One, are affiliated with the Nationalist and Labour parties, respectively. Malta_sentence_677

The rest are privately owned. Malta_sentence_678

The Malta Broadcasting Authority supervises all local broadcasting stations and ensures their compliance with legal and licence obligations as well as the preservation of due impartiality; in respect of matters of political or industrial controversy or relating to current public policy; while fairly apportioning broadcasting facilities and time between persons belong to different political parties. Malta_sentence_679

The Broadcasting Authority ensures that local broadcasting services consist of public, private and community broadcasts that offer varied and comprehensive programming to cater for all interests and tastes. Malta_sentence_680

The Malta Communications Authority reported that there were 147,896 pay TV subscriptions active at the end of 2012, which includes analogue and digital cable, pay digital terrestrial TV and IPTV. Malta_sentence_681

For reference the latest census counts 139,583 households in Malta. Malta_sentence_682

Satellite reception is available to receive other European television networks such as the BBC from Great Britain and RAI and Mediaset from Italy. Malta_sentence_683

Holidays Malta_section_41

Main article: Public holidays in Malta Malta_sentence_684


Maltese public holidaysMalta_table_caption_1
DayMalta_header_cell_1_0_0 HolidayMalta_header_cell_1_0_1
1 JanuaryMalta_cell_1_1_0 New Year's DayMalta_cell_1_1_1
10 FebruaryMalta_cell_1_2_0 St. Paul's ShipwreckMalta_cell_1_2_1
19 MarchMalta_cell_1_3_0 St. JosephMalta_cell_1_3_1
31 MarchMalta_cell_1_4_0 Freedom DayMalta_cell_1_4_1
March/April (date changes)Malta_cell_1_5_0 Good FridayMalta_cell_1_5_1
1 MayMalta_cell_1_6_0 Labour DayMalta_cell_1_6_1
7 JuneMalta_cell_1_7_0 Sette GiugnoMalta_cell_1_7_1
29 JuneMalta_cell_1_8_0 St. Peter and St. Paul (L-Imnarja)Malta_cell_1_8_1
15 AugustMalta_cell_1_9_0 The Assumption (Santa Marija)Malta_cell_1_9_1
8 SeptemberMalta_cell_1_10_0 Our Lady of VictoriesMalta_cell_1_10_1
21 SeptemberMalta_cell_1_11_0 Independence DayMalta_cell_1_11_1
8 DecemberMalta_cell_1_12_0 Immaculate ConceptionMalta_cell_1_12_1
13 DecemberMalta_cell_1_13_0 Republic DayMalta_cell_1_13_1
25 DecemberMalta_cell_1_14_0 Christmas DayMalta_cell_1_14_1

Sport Malta_section_42

Main article: Sport in Malta Malta_sentence_685

In 2018 Malta hosted its first Esports tournament, 'Supernova CS:GO Malta', a Counter Strike: Global Offensive tournament with a $150,000 prize pool. Malta_sentence_686

See also Malta_section_43


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