Country MALTA


Encyclopedia Britannica, (2001)


National Anthem (audio)



Official Country name

Republic of Malta (Maltese: Repubblika ta’ Malta)

Government Type

  • Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
  • President: George Vella
  • Prime Minister: Robert Abela
  • Legislature: House of Representatives


Total: 316 sq km; 122 sq miles

Water: 0.001



Ethnic groups

79% Maltese

21% Non-Maltese


Malta has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers, hotter in the inland areas. Rain occurs mainly in autumn and winter, with summer being generally dry.



Main cities

Mdina, Birgu, Sliema, St. Paul’s Bay, Mosta

Official and National  Language

Maltese and English (bi-lingual)

Other Languages

Italian, French, Spanish – conversational

Main Religion


Other Religions


Education literacy rate

15-24 years: 94.5%

15 years and older: 99.2%

65 years and older: 87.6%

Child mortality

6.1 (deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018)

In 2018, child mortality rate for Malta was 7 deaths per 1,000 live births. Child mortality rate of Malta fell gradually from 29.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1969 to 7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018. Under-five mortality rate is the probability per 1,000 that a newborn baby will die before reaching age five, if subject to current age-specific mortality rates.


Euro (EUR) (€)

International telephone area code


HDI (2018)


Driving side


ISO 3166 code



History: Malta has been inhabited from around 5900 BC, since the arrival of settlers from the island of Sicily. 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. The Phoenicians colonised Malta between 800–700 BC, bringing their Semitic language and culture. The Romans become in 216 BC and Malta became a municipium. 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. The Muslim rule was ended by the Normans who conquered the island in 1091. The islands were completely re-Christianised by 1249. The islands were part of the Kingdom of Sicily until 1530, when Charles V of Spain gave the Maltese islands to the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in perpetual lease. 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 became independent on 21 September 1964 (Independence Day). On 13 December 1974 (Republic Day) it became a republic within the Commonwealth, with the President as head of state. On 31 March 1979, Malta saw the withdrawal of the last British troops and the Royal Navy from Malta. This day is known as Freedom Day and Malta declared itself as a neutral and non-aligned state. Malta joined the European Union on 1 May 2004 and joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2008.


Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean (in its eastern basin), some 80 km (50 mi) from southern Italy across the Malta Channel. Only the three largest islands–Malta(Malta), Gozo(Għawdex) and Comino(Kemmuna) – are inhabited. The minor islands that form part of the archipelago are uninhabited. 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. Numerous bays along the indented coastline of the islands provide good harbours. The landscape consists of low hills with terraced fields. The highest point in Malta is Ta’ Dmejrek, at 253 m (830 ft), near Dingli.

Politics and government

Malta is a republic whose parliamentary system and public administration are closely modelled on the Westminster system. The unicameral Parlament is made up of the President of Malta and the House of Representatives (Maltese: Kamra tad-Deputati). The President of Malta, a largely ceremonial position, is appointed for a five-year term by a resolution of the House of Representatives carried by a simple majority. Members of the House of Representatives are elected by direct universal suffrage.


Malta is classified as an advanced economy together with 32 other countries according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Until 1800, Malta depended on cotton, tobacco and its shipyards for exports. Malta produces only about 20 per cent of its food needs, has limited freshwater 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. The economy is dependent on foreign trade (serving as a freight trans-shipment point), manufacturing (especially electronics and textiles) and tourism.

Malta became a member of the European Union on 1 May 2004.


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.


Maltese architecture has been influenced by many different Mediterranean cultures and British architecture over its history. The first settlers on the island constructed Ġgantija, a 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. The Roman period introduced highly decorative mosaic floors, marble colonnades and classical statuary, remnants of which are presented in the Roman Domus, a country villa just outside the walls of Mdina. The early Christian frescoes that decorate the catacombs beneath Malta reveal a propensity for eastern, Byzantine tastes. These tastes continued to inform the endeavours of medieval Maltese artists, but they were increasingly influenced by the Romanesque and Southern Gothic movements.


Malta followed a Romantic literary tradition, culminating in the works of Dun Karm Psaila, Malta’s National Poet. Subsequent writers like Ruzar Briffa and Karmenu Vassallo tried to estrange themselves from the rigidity of formal themes and versification. The next generation of writers, including Karl Schembri and Immanuel Mifsud, widened the tracks further, especially in prose and poetry.


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.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. The arrival in Malta of Caravaggio, who painted at least seven works during his 15-month stay on these islands, further revolutionised local art. 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.  In Malta worked also Mattia Preti that in 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.


Article 3 of the National Holidays and Other Public Holidays Act (chapter 252 of the laws of Malta) provides the distinction between National and Public Holidays: ‘The National Holidays shall be public holidays and on those occasions there shall be flown on public buildings the National Flag of Malta.’

National Holiday

  • 31 March: Freedom Day (‘Jum il-Ħelsien’)
  • 7 June: Sette Giugno
  • 8 September: Victory Day (‘Jum il-Vitorja’)
  • 21 September: Independence Day (‘Jum l-Indipendenza’)
  • 13 December: Republic Day (‘Jum ir-Repubblika’

Public Holidays

  • 1 January: New Year’s Day (‘L-Ewwel tas-Sena’)
  • 10 February: Feast of Saint Paul’s Shipwreck in Malta (‘Nawfraġju ta’ San Pawl’) – the apostle is the patron saint of Malta
  • 19 March: Feast of Saint Joseph (‘San Ġużepp’)
  • Friday before Easter: Good Friday (‘Il-Ġimgħa l-Kbira’)
  • 1 May: Worker’s Day (‘Jum il-Ħaddiem’)
  • 29 June: Feast of Saint Peter; Saint Paul, patron saints (‘L-Imnarja’)
  • 15 August: Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady (‘Santa Marija’)
  • 8 December: Feast of the Immaculate Conception (‘Il-Kunċizzjoni’)
  • 25 December: Christmas Day (‘Il-Milied’)


The most widely read and financially the strongest newspapers are published by Allied Newspapers Ltd., mainly The Times of Malta and its Sunday edition The Sunday Times of Malta. Due to bilingualism half of the newspapers are published in English and the other half in Maltese. There are eight terrestrial television channels in Malta: TVM, TVM2, Parliament TV, One, NET Television, Smash Television, F Living and Xejk. The state and political parties subsidise most of the funding of these television stations. TVM, TVM2 and Parliament TV are operated by Public Broadcasting Services, the national broadcaster and member of the EBU. Communications Ltd., the owner of NET Television, and One Productions Ltd.  Other European television networks such as the BBC from Great Britain and RAI and Mediaset from Italy.


The Maltese archipelago has long been used as a location for some major productions: Midnight Express, Gladiator and U-571 are among the most memorable. Malta has recently also hosted Hollywood blockbusters such as The Count of Monte Cristo and the epic Troy, The Da Vinci Code and Munich.

Recipes (Cuisine)

Maltese cuisine shows strong Sicilian and English influences as well as influences of Spanish, Maghrebin and Provençal cuisines. 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). Potatoes are a staple of the Maltese diet as well. A number of grapes are endemic to Malta, including Girgentina and Ġellewża.


Malta has a long history of providing publicly funded health care. The first hospital recorded in the country was already functioning by 1372. 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 has a strong general practitioner-delivered primary care base and the public hospitals provide secondary and tertiary care. The Maltese Ministry of Health advises foreign residents to take out private medical insurance.

Education: Structure of Maltese school system

Primary schooling has been compulsory since 1946; secondary education up to the age of sixteen was made compulsory in 1971. The state and the Church provide education free of charge. As of 2006, state schools are organised into networks known as Colleges and incorporate kindergarten schools, primary and secondary schools. Education in Malta is based on the British model. Maltese and English are both used to teach pupils at primary and secondary school level, and both languages are also compulsory subjects.


0-3 years


Age 3 – 5

Length: 3 years (not compulsory)

Elementary Education (compulsory)

Primary school

Age: 5 – 10

Length: 5 years

Lower junior high school:

Age: 11 -12

Length: 2 years

Secondary Education

The superior school’s system at present is structured in :

Secondary School Certificate (SSC)

Length: 3 years

Higher Secondary Education

Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC)

Length: 2 years

Certificate/Diploma (Vocational Education)

Length: >1-2 years

Tertiary Education

Bachelor’s degree (Pass)

Length: 3 years

Bachelor’s degree Honours

Length: 4 years

Master Degree

Length: 1-2 years

Master of Philosophy

Length: 2 years

Doctoral Degree (PhD)

Length: 2+ years