Fast Facts

Population:
405,000
Capital:
Valletta; 83,000
Area:
316 square kilometers (122 square miles)
Language:
Maltese, English
Religion:
Roman Catholic
Currency:
Euro
Life Expectancy:
77
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $17,200
Literacy Percent:
93
Flag: Malta
Map: Malta

Malta's position in the Mediterranean, midway between Europe and Africa, has made it a strategic prize. Here, in the 16th century, the Knights of St. John repelled 30,000 soldiers of Süleyman the Magnificent's Ottoman Empire. It withstood Axis bombs during World War II. In 1964, after almost 150 years as a British colony, the Maltese islands won independence. Tourism is the cornerstone of the nation's economy, and it joined the EU in 2004.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Tourism, electronics, ship building and repair
  • Agriculture: Potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat; pork
  • Exports: Machinery and transport equipment, manufactures

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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