About Malta

Description

 

The Maltese islands were first settled by Stone Age hunters in 5200 BC, who migrated from the island of Sicily, and by 700 BC ancient Greeks had arrived, followed by the Phoenicians.

The islands fell under Roman rule during the first century AD, following Malta’s loyalty towards Rome during the First and Second Punic Wars.

Then, when the Roman Empire was divided into eastern and western regions, the Maltese islands fell into the hands of the Byzantine Empire for the next four hundred years.

After the Byzantine rule came to end, the Kingdom of Sicily took over, and it was during the era of count Roger II of Sicily in 1127 that saw the Maltese islands move from a mostly Arab culture to a European one.

The Maltese islands remained under Sicily’s rule until the beginning of the 16th century when the Ottoman Empire began to spread.

Fearing the end of Christian Europe was upon them, Spanish King Charles V handed over the islands to the Knight Hospitallers of St. John for their protection.

These knights eventually became known as the famous “Knights of Malta” and spent the next 275 years building new towns, and enhancing the cultural heritage.

In 1565, the Ottoman Empire invaded the island, in what has become known as the Great Siege of Malta.

For the Ottoman’s it was all in vain, as the Knights were more than prepared for an attack, and were relatively quick in claiming a victory against the Ottoman Empire.

The reign of the Knights ended in 1798 when Napoleon seized Malta during the French Revolutionary Wars.

The Maltese were less than thrilled with the French invasion, and rebelled against the new financial and religious policies set forth.

Great Britain, the Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of Sicily all sent Malta ammunition and aid, and helped push France into surrendering in 1800.

Fast Facts

 

  • Name: Malta
    (long form) Republic of Malta
  • Capital City: Valletta (6,098 pop.)
  • Malta Population: 408,333 (2010 est.)
  • World Populations (all countries)
  • Currency: Euro
  • Ethnicity: Maltese (descendants of ancient Carthaginians and Phoenicians with strong elements of Italian and other Mediterranean stock)
  • GDP total: $10.21 billion (2010 est.)
  • GDP per capita: $25,100 (2010 est.)
  • Land Sizes
  • Language: Maltese (official) 90.2%, English (official) 6%, multilingual 3%, other 0.8%
  • Largest Cities: (by population) Birkirkara, Qormi, Mosta, Zabbar, Rabat, San Gwann, Fgura, Zejtun, Sliema, Zebbug, Hamrun, Naxxar
  • Name: from the Greek word Melita meaning “honey”
  • National Day: September 21
  • Religion: Roman Catholic 98%

Land Statistics

 

  • Coastline: 121.79 miles (196.8 km) – excludes 34.8 miles (56.01 km) for the island of Gozo
  • Land Area:
    (land) 122 sq miles (316 sq km)
    (water) 0 sq miles (0 sq km)
    (TOTAL) 122 sq miles (316 sq km)
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  • Land Area: (all countries)
  • Horizontal Width: 7.14 miles (11.49 km) from Dingli east to Paola
  • Vertical Length: 6.73 miles (10.83 km) from Hagar Qim north to Bugibba
  • Bordering Countries: (0)
  • Geographic Center: About 2.18 miles (3.5 km) northwest of Mosta
  • Highest Point:  Ta’Dmejrek 830 feet (253 m)
  • Lowest Point:  Mediterranean Sea 0 m

Latitude & Longitude:

 

  • Latitude/Longitude (Absolute Locations)
    Valletta: (capital city) 35° 53′ N, 14° 30′ E
    Birzebbuga: 35° 49′ N, 14° 31′ E
    Rabat: 35° 52′ N, 14° 23′ E

Landforms

 

Surrounded by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is a cluster of small islands composed of coralline limestone.

The only inhabited islands of this archipelago are the three largest: Malta, Gozo and Comino (which is home to the gorgeous Blue Lagoon); each of which are mostly low, rocky islands with rugged, steep coastal cliffs.

The highest point is located within the triangular plateau Ta’Zuta, and rises to 830 feet (253 m).

Malta does not have any permanent natural lakes or rivers, though during periods of intense rainfall small rivers are known to form.