- The Republic of Malta is a group of seven islands: Malta itself, Gozo, the tiny island of Comino in between Malta and Gozo, and four uninhabited islands.
- A citizen of Malta is a Maltese, not a Malteser
- Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English. Most of the population also speaks Italian, which is historically an official language.
What is the History of Malta?
- Malta has an ancient and complex history, strategically located in the centre of the Mediterranean between Africa and Europe. It has been inhabited since approximately 5900 BC and is home to some of the oldest man-made structures in the world. These include ancient Megalithic Temples and the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, a subterranean complex of halls and burial chambers dating to circa 4000 B.C.
- A succession of powers have contested and ruled the islands, including the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans (as part of the kingdom of Sicily) , Aragonese, Knights of St. John (a present form Charles V after they were thrown out of Rhodes by the Ottomans), French, and finally, the British, who ousted Napoleon and then were requested to stay.
- Malta became a British colony in 1813, serving as a way station for ships and the headquarters for the British Mediterranean Fleet. It was an important base during World War II and so was awarded the George Cross in 1942 as a recognition of the country's bravery when it came under heavy attack by Axis Power bombers.
- Malta became independent from the UK on 21st September 1964, but the Maltese flag still features the George Cross in its top left hand corner
Is Malta Part of the EU?
Malta became a member country of the EU on May 1, 2004. It's currency is the Euro. Malta is the most densely populated country in the EU and one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It has about 1,265 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,000 per square mile.)
Is Malta Expensive?
Malta is expensive compared to other southern European destinations. There is relatively little agriculture ( only about 4 square miles of land is under irrigation) and much food has to be imported. Most of the farms that do exist are small and privately owned. The main livestock export is fish.
However, I discovered it's possible to have a relatively cheap holiday there. Malta - A Sizzling Budget Holiday
Is Malta Safe to Visit?
Malta is considered to be very safe to visit - amongst the safest countries in the EU to travel to. The most common type of crime is petty theft.
What is There to Do in Malta?
Perhaps surprisingly, Malta is more of a sightseeing destination than a beach holiday. Because of its complex history there is plenty to see, from Neolithic temples to amazing baroque cities. There are a few sandy beaches, but most swimming is in rocky pools. The sea is gorgeously blue and warm - and in summer it can be very very hot!
Read Malta - A Sizzling Budget Holiday to see where I went.