The Maltese archipelago includes the islands of Malta, Gozo, Comino, Comminotto and Filfla.
It has a history of colonial control spanning centuries.
Located south of the Italian island of Sicily between Europe and North Africa, it has been occupied by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and latterly France and Britain.
Independence from Britain was achieved in 1964, after the Maltese people were awarded the George Cross for defending the island during the Second World War.
Over the centuries, Malta’s strategic position fostered its development as an important trading post and it remains a leading centre for container and freight transhipment.
Malta is a popular holiday destination and tourism is the nation’s main source of income.
- Republic of Malta
- Capital: Valletta
- Population 419,000
- Area 316 sq km (122 sq miles)
- Major languages Maltese, English
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 78 years (men), 82 years (women)
- Currency euro