Malta is a country found in the Mediterranean Sea in Europe. The Maltese Islands are made up of an archipelago (the other two islands are Gozo and Comino) situated 80 km south of Sicily and 288 km north of Africa.
Malta covers a little over 316 km² (122 sq miles) in land and has a population of over 400,000 inhabitants, making it one of the most densely populated countries worldwide.
The country has two official languages, Maltese and English, and the capital city is Valletta.
Throughout history, Malta’s location has given it great strategic importance. Amongst other powers, the Maltese Islands were ruled by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Knights of St John, French and British.
Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and became a republic in 1974, while retaining membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. Malta was admitted to the United Nations in 1964 and to the European Union in 2004. Malta is also party to the Schengen Agreement and it became part of the Eurozone in 2008.
Malta is internationally renowned as a tourist destination, with several and historical monuments and locations, including nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Malta’s sister island of Gozo is 67 km² in size. It lies approximately 6 km northwest of the nearest point of Malta. The island can be reached by ferry boat and seaplane.