Malta Travel Information

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Nature Trust - Malta

Facts About Malta

Background: Great Britain formally acquired possession of Malta in 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both World Wars and remained in the Commonwealth when it became independent in 1964. A decade later Malta became a republic. Over the last 15 years, the island has become a major freight transshipment point, financial center, and tourist destination. It is an official candidate for EU membership.
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: Valletta
Currency: 1 Maltese lira (LM) = 100 cents

Geography of Malta

Location: Southern Europe, islands in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (Italy)
Geographic coordinates: 35 50 N, 14 35 E
Area:
total: 316 sq km
land: 316 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 140 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive fishing zone: 25 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: Mediterranean with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers
Terrain: mostly low, rocky, flat to dissected plains; many coastal cliffs
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Ta'Dmejrek 253 m (near Dingli)
Natural resources: limestone, salt, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 38%
permanent crops: 3%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 59% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1993 est.)
Environment - current issues: very limited natural fresh water resources; increasing reliance on desalination
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: the country comprises an archipelago, with only the three largest islands (Malta, Ghawdex or Gozo, and Kemmuna or Comino) being inhabited; numerous bays provide good harbors; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration.

People of Malta

Malta is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Inhabited since prehistoric times, Malta was first colonized by the Phoenicians. Subsequently, Maltese life and culture have been influenced to varying degrees by Arabs, Italians, and the British. Most of the foreign community in Malta, predominantly active or retired British nationals and their dependents, centers around Sliema and surrounding modern suburbs. Roman Catholicism is established by law as the religion of Malta; however, full liberty of conscience and freedom of worship are guaranteed, and a number of faiths have places of worship on the island. Malta has two official languages--Maltese (a Semitic language) and English. The literacy rate has reached 89%, compared to 63% in 1946. Schooling is compulsory until age 16.

Population: 398,534 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  19.98%
15-64 years:  67.49%
65 years and over:  12.53%
Population growth rate: 0.74% 
Birth rate: 12.75 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 7.74 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 2.37 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 5.83 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  78.1 years
male:  75.64 years
female:  80.79 years
Total fertility rate: 1.92 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Maltese (singular and plural)
adjective: Maltese
Ethnic groups: Maltese (descendants of ancient Carthaginians and Phoenicians, with strong elements of Italian and other Mediterranean stock)
Religions: Roman Catholic 91%
Languages: Maltese (official), English (official)
Literacy:
definition:  age 10 and over can read and write
total population:  88.76%
male:  86.91%
female:  89.55% (1995 census)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Malta > Map Economy History