Facts and Figures
Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean 80 km from southern Italy. Only the three largest islands – Malta (Malta), Gozo (Għawdex) and Comino (Kemmuna) – are inhabited. 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.
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. The average yearly temperature is around 23 °C (73 °F) during the day and 15.5 °C (59.9 °F) at night. The coldest month is January with the temperature ranging from 12 to 18 °C (54 to 64 °F) during the day. The warmest month is August with the temperature ranging from 28 to 34 °C (82 to 93 °F) during the day.
|Official languages:||Maltese & English|
|Religion:||Roman Catholic (93.9%)|
|Time Zone:||GMT + 1 hour|
|Airport ISO Code:||MLA|
|Domestic beer:||€ 2.50 a pint|
|Three-course meal:||€ 30.00 per person|
|Regular White Taxi:||€ 25.00 per taxi (one trip)|
The History of the Maltese Islands
Malta has a long history and was first inhabited in around 5900 BC. The islands were repopulated in around 3850 BC by a civilization which at its peak built the Megalithic Temples, which today are among the oldest surviving buildings in the world. Malta’s prehistory ends in around 700 BC, when the islands were colonized by the Phoenicians. They ruled the islands until they fell to the Roman Republic in 218 BC until being repopulated by Arabs in the 11th century. The islands were invaded by the Norman County of Sicily in 1091, and a gradual Christianization of the islands followed. The islands were given to the Order of St. John in 1530, who ruled them as a vassal state of Sicily. The Order was expelled after the French First Republic invaded the islands in 1798, marking the beginning of the French occupation of Malta.
After a few months of French rule, the Maltese rebelled and the French were expelled in 1800 with British, Neapolitan and Portuguese assistance. Malta subsequently became a British protectorate, becoming a de facto colony in 1813. This was confirmed by the Treaty of Paris a year later. The islands became an important naval base for the British, serving as the headquarters of the Mediterranean Fleet. Due to this, Malta was attacked by the Axis powers during World War II, and in 1942 the island was awarded the George Cross, which today appears on Malta’s flag and coat of arms. Malta became independent as a Commonwealth realm known as the State of Malta in 1964, and it became a republic in 1974. Since 2004, the country has been a member state of the European Union.