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16 mai 2011 1 16 /05 /mai /2011 12:10

Malta, officially the Republic of Malta(Maltese: Repubblika ta' Malta), is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelagosituated in the centre of the Mediterranean, 93 km south of Sicily and 288 km east of Tunisia, with the Strait of Gibraltar 1,826 km to the west andAlexandria 1,510 km to the east.Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery

Malta covers just over 300 km² in land area, making it one of the world's smallest and most densely populated countries.Its de factocapital isValletta and the largest town is Birkirkara. The main island is made up of many small towns, which together form one Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) with a population of 368,250 (majority of the population of the country) according to Eurostat.Dell Latitude D830 Battery

The country has two official languages – Maltese and English – with Maltese being considered the national language.

Throughout history, Malta's location has given it great strategic importance and a sequence of powers including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans,Fatimids, Sicilians, Knights of St John, French and the British ruled the islands.Toshiba Satellite M65 battery

Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and became a republic in 1974, whilst retaining membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. It is a member of the United Nations (since 1964) and amember of the European Union (since 2004). Malta is also party to the Schengen Agreement (since 2007) and member of the eurozone (since 2008).Toshiba NB100 Battery

Malta has a long Christian legacy and is an Apostolic See. According to the Acts of the Apostles in the Christian Bible,St. Paul was shipwrecked on "Melite", as the Greeks called the island, and ministered there.[15]Catholicism continues to be the official and dominant religion in Malta.Toshiba Satellite P10 Battery

Malta is internationally renowned as a tourist resort, with numerous recreational areas and historical monuments, including nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, most prominently the Megalithic Temples which are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.Sony VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

Etymology

The origin of the term Maltais uncertain, and the modern-day variation derives from the Maltese language. The most common etymology is that the wordMaltaderives from the Greek word ???? (meli), "honey".Sony VGN-FW11S Battery

The Greeks called the island ?????? (Melit?) meaning "honey-sweet" (which was also the name of a Nereid), possibly due to Malta's unique production of honey; an endemic species of bee lives on the island, giving it the popular nickname the "land of honey".Hp pavilion dv6000 battery

The Romans went on to call the island Melita, which is the latinisation of the Greek ??????. Another theory suggest that the word Maltacomes from the Phoenician word  Maleth, the Phoenician name for the islands, meaning "a haven" in reference to Malta's many bays and coves.Sony Vaio VGN-FZ31S battery

Prehistory

Pottery found by archeologists at Skorba resembles that found in Italy, and suggests that the Maltese islands were first settled in 5200 BC mainly by stone age hunters or farmers who had arrived from the larger island of Sicily, possibly the Sicani.Sony Vaio VGN-FZ31S battery

The extinction of the dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants has been linked to the earliest arrival of humans on Malta. The most probable means by which people came to Malta was by using rafts. When they came to Malta they first settled in caves, such as G?ar Dalam, and later built huts.HP NX8200 battery

The Sicani were the only tribe known to have inhabited the island at this time and are generally regarded as related to the Iberians.The population on Malta grew cereals, raised domestic livestock and, in common with other ancient Mediterranean cultures,HP NX7400 battery

worshiped a fertility figure represented in Maltese prehistoric artifacts as exhibiting the large proportions seen in similar statuettes, including the Venus of Willendorf.

Pottery from the G?ar Dalam phase is similar to pottery found in Agrigento, Sicily.HP NW8440 battery

A culture of megalithic temple builders then either supplanted or arose from this early period. During 3500 BC, these people built some of the oldest existing, free-standing structures in the world in the form of the megalithic ?gantija temples on Gozo;[32]other early temples include those at ?a?ar Qim and Mnajdra. HP NW8200 battery

The temples have a distinctive architecture, typically a complex trefoil design, and were used from 4000–2500 BC. Animal bones and a knife found behind a removable altar stone suggest that temple rituals included animal sacrifice. Tentative information suggests that the sacrifices were made to the goddess of fertility, whose statue is now in the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.HP NC6400 battery

The culture apparently disappeared from the Maltese Islands around 2500 BC. Archeologists speculate that the temple builders fell victim to famine or disease. Others have speculated on the links between this event and Plato's account of the disappearance of Atlantis.HP NC6200 battery

Another interesting archeological feature of the Maltese islands often attributed to these ancient builders, are equidistant uniform grooves dubbed "cart tracks" or "cart ruts" which can be found in several locations throughout the islands with the most prominent being those found in an area of Malta named "Clapham Junction".HP NC6100 battery

These may have been caused by wooden-wheeled carts eroding soft limestone.

After 2500 BC, the Maltese Islands were depopulated for several decades until the arrival of a new influx of Bronze Age immigrants, a culture that cremated its dead and introduced smaller megalithic structures called dolmens to Malta.HP NC6000 battery

Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans

Around 700 BC, the Ancient Greeks settled on Malta, especially around the area where Valletta now stands. A century later, Phoenician traders,who used the islands as a stop on their trade routes from the eastern Mediterranean to Cornwall, joined the natives on the island.HP NC4400 battery

The Phoenicians inhabited the area now known as Mdina, and its surrounding town of Rabat, which they calledMaleth. The Romans, who also lived in Mdina, referred to it (and the island) as Melita.

After the fall of Phoenicia, in 400 BC the area came under the control of Carthage, a former Phoenician colony.HP 6710B battery

During this time the people on Malta mainly cultivated olives and carobs, and produced textiles.

During the First Punic War of 264 BC, tensions led the Maltese people to rebel against Carthage and turn control of their garrison over to the Roman consulSempronius.HP 6530B battery

Malta remained loyal to Rome during the Second Punic War and the Romans rewarded it with the title Foederata Civitas, a designation that meant it was exempt from paying tribute or the rule of Roman law, although at this time it fell within the jurisdiction of the province of Sicily.HP 6510B battery

By 117 AD, the Maltese Islands were a thriving part of the Roman Empire, being promoted to the status of Municipiumunder Hadrian. Catacombs in Rabattestify to an early Christian community on the islands, and the Acts of the Apostles recount the shipwreck of St Paul and his ministry on the island (seeReligion).HP Pavilion DV6-1020ED Battery

When the Roman Empire split into Eastern and Western divisions in the 4th century, Malta fell under the control of the Greek speaking Byzantine Empirefrom 395 to 870, which ruled from Constantinople. Although Malta was under Byzantine rule for four centuries, not much is known from this period.Dell Latitude E6400 battery

There is evidence that Germanic tribes, including the Goths and Vandals, briefly took control of the islands before the Byzantines launched a counter attack and retook Malta. Apple A1281 battery

Middle Ages

Malta was involved in the Byzantine-Arab Wars, and the conquest of Malta is closely linked with that of Sicily due to admiral Euphemius' betrayal of his fellow Byzantines, requesting that the Aghlabid dynasty invade the area. As part of the Emirate of Sicily, rule switched to the Fatimids in 909.Apple A1280 battery

The Arabs introduced new irrigation, some fruits and cottonand the Siculo-Arabic language was adopted on the island from Sicily: it would eventually evolve into the Maltese language.

The native Christians were allowed freedom of religion but had to pay jizya, a tax for following their religion.Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

TheNormans, as part of their conquest of Sicily, took Malta in 1091. The local Christians warmly welcomed the arrival ofRoger I and offered to fight for him; in response to this, Roger reportedly tore off a portion of his checkered red-and-white banner and presented it to the Maltese, forming the basis of the present-day Maltese flag.Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

The Norman period was productive; Malta became part of the newly formed Kingdom of Sicily which also covered the island of Sicily and the southern half of the Italian Peninsula. The Catholic Church was re-instated as the state religion with Malta under the See of Palermo and much Norman architecture sprung up around Malta especially in its ancient capital Mdina.Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/L Battery

Tancred of Sicily, the last Norman monarch, made Malta a feudal lordship or fief within the kingdom and a Count of Malta instated. As the islands were much desired due to their strategic importance, it was during this time the men of Malta were militarised to fend off capture attempts; the early counts were skilled Genoese corsairs.HP 448007-001 battery

The kingdom passed on to the House of Hohenstaufen from 1194 until 1266. Malta was part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation for 72 years. Malta was declared a county and a marquisate, but its trade was totally ruined. For a long time it remained solely a fortified garrison.Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

It was in 1224 under Frederick II that all remaining Muslims were expelled from Malta or forced to convert and the entire Christian male population of Celano in Abruzzo was deported to Malta

For a brief period the kingdom passed to the Capetian House of Anjou, however high taxes made the dynasty unpopular in Malta,HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO Battery

due in part to Charles of Anjou's war against the Republic of Genoa and the island of Gozo was sacked in 1275. Alarge revolt on Sicily known as the Sicilian Vespers followed these attacks, that saw the Peninsula separating into the Kingdom of Naples; the Kingdom of Sicily, including Malta, then fell under the rule of the Aragonese.Compaq CQ35-100 battery

Relatives of the kings of Aragon ruled the island until 1409, when it passed to the Crown of Aragon. Early on in the Aragonese reign the sons of the monarchy received the title, "Count of Malta". It was also during this time that much of the local nobility was created.HP DV9700 battery

However by 1397 the bearing of the title "Count of Malta" reverted to a feudal basis with two families fighting over the distinction, which caused much distress. This led the king to abolish the title. Dispute over the title returned when the title was reinstated a few years later and the Maltese, led by the local nobility, rose up against Count Gonsalvo Monroy.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

Although they opposed the Count, the Maltese voiced their loyalty to the Sicilian Crown, which so impressed Alfonso IV that he did not punish the people for their rebellion but promised never to grant the title to a third party, instead incorporating it back into the crown.HP Pavilion DV8 battery

The city of Mdina was given the title of Città Notabileas a result of this sequence of events.

Knights of Malta and Napoleon

In 1530 Charles I of Spain gave the islands to the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in perpetual lease.Compaq CQ50 battery

These knights, a military religious order now known as the Knights of Malta, had been driven out of Rhodes by the Ottoman Empire in 1522.

In 1551, Barbary corsairs enslaved the entire population of the Maltese island Gozo, about 5,000, sending them to Libya.HP Pavilion DV7 battery

The knights withstood a full-blown siege by the Ottomans in 1565, at the time the greatest naval power in the Mediterranean. The knights, fighting alongside the Maltese, were victorious and speaking of the battle Voltaire said, "Nothing is more well known than the siege of Malta."Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

After the siege they decided to increase Malta's fortifications, particularly in the inner-harbour area, where the new city of Valletta, named in honour of Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette, was built. They also established watchtowers along the coasts – the Wignacourt, Lascaris, and de Redin towers – named after the Grand Masters who ordered the work.Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

The Knights' presence on the island saw the completion of many architectural and cultural projects, including the embellishment of Città Vittoriosa, the construction of new cities including Città Rohan and Città Hompesch and the introduction of new academic and social resources.Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

Approximately 11,000 people out of a population of 60,000 died of plague in 1675.

The Knights' reign ended when Napoleon captured Malta on his way to Egypt during the French Revolutionary Wars in 1798. As a ruse, Napoleon asked for safe harbour to resupply his ships.SONY VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

Once safely inside Valletta's harbour he turned his guns against his hosts. Grand Master Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheimcapitulated and Napoleon stayed in Malta for a few days, during which time he systematically looted many movable assets of the island and established an administration controlled by his nominees.Asus M52N Battery

He then sailed for Egypt, leaving behind a substantial garrison.

The occupying French forces were deeply unpopular with the Maltese, due particularly to the French forces' hostility towards Catholicism.Dell Latitude E6400 ATG Battery

The French financial and religious policies angered the Maltese who rebelled, forcing the French to retreat within the city fortifications. Great Britain, along with the Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of Sicily, sent ammunition and aid to the Maltese and Britain also sent her navy, which blockaded the islands.SONY VAIO VGN-FW21L Battery

General Claude-Henri Belgrand de Vaubois surrendered his French forces in 1800. Maltese leaders presented the island to Sir Alexander Ball, asking that the island become a British Dominion. The Maltese people created a Declaration of Rights in which they agreed to come "under the protection and sovereignty of the King of the free people,SONY VAIO VGN-FW21M Battery

His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland". The Declaration also stated that "his Majesty has no right to cede these Islands to any power...if he chooses to withdraw his protection, and abandon his sovereignty, the right of electing another sovereign, or of the governing of these Islands, belongs to us, the inhabitants and aborigines alone, and without control."SONY VAIO VGN-FW21Z Battery

British Empire and World War II

In 1814, as part of the Treaty of Paris, Malta officially became a part of the British Empire and was used as a shipping way-station and fleet headquarters. Malta's position half-way between the Strait of Gibraltar and the Suez Canal proved to be its main asset during these years and it was considered an important stop on the way to India.SONY VAIO VGN-FW33GW Battery

This was an important trade route for the British and thus, the Maltese people took great advantage of this alliance as several culinary and botanical products were introduced in Malta; some examples (derived from the National Book of Trade Customs found in the National Library) include the entry of wheat (for bread making) and bacon.Dell XPS M1210 Battery

In 1919 British troops fired on a rally protesting against new taxes, killing four Maltese men. The event, known as Sette Giugno (Italian for 7 June), is commemorated every year and is one of five National Days.

In the early 1930s the British Mediterranean Fleet, which was at that time the main contributor to commerce on the island, moved to Alexandria as an economic measure and to be out of range of Italian bombers.Dell KM958 battery

During World War II, Malta played an important role owing to its proximity to Axis shipping lanes. The bravery of the Maltese people during the second Siege of Malta moved King George VI to award the George Cross to Malta on a collective basis on 15 April 1942 "to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history".Dell Studio 1555 battery

Some historians argue that the award caused Britain to incur disproportionate losses in defending Malta, as British credibility would have suffered if Malta surrendered, as Singapore had. A replica of the George Cross now appears in the upper hoist corner of the Flag of Malta.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

The collective award remained unique until April 1999, when the Royal Ulster Constabulary became the second – and, to date, the only other – recipient of a collective George Cross.

Independence and Republic

Malta achieved its independence on 21 September 1964 (Independence Day) after intense negotiations with the United Kingdom, led by Prime MinisterGeorge Borg Olivier.Sony VGP-BPS13/S battery

Under its 1964 constitution, Malta initially retained Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Malta and thus Head of State, with a Governor-General exercising executive authority on her behalf. In 1971, the Malta Labour Party led by Dom Mintoff won the General Elections, resulting in Malta declaring itself a republic on 13 December 1974 (Republic Day) within the Commonwealth,Sony VGP-BPS13A/B battery

with the President as head of state. A defence agreement signed soon after independence (and re-negotiated in 1972) expired on 31 March 1979.

Malta adopted a policy of neutrality in 1980.Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery

In 1989, Malta was the venue of a summit between US President George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, their first face-to-face encounter, which signaled the end of the Cold War.

On July 16, 1990, Malta, through its foreign minister, Guido de Marco, applied to join the European Union.Sony VGP-BPL9 battery

After tough negotiations, a referendum was held on March 8, 2003, which resulted in a favourable vote. General Elections held on April 12, 2003, gave a clear mandate to the Prime Minister, Eddie Fenech Adami, to sign the Treaty of accession to the European Union on April 16, 2003 in Athens, Greece.Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery

Malta joined the European Union on May 1, 2004.Following the European Council of June 21–22, 2007, Malta joined the Eurozone on January 1, 2008.

Politic

Malta is a republic,whose parliamentary system and public administration is closely modeled on the Westminster system.Sony VGP-BPL15 battery

Malta had the second highestvoter turnout in the world (and the highest for nations without mandatory voting), based on election turnout in national lower house elections from 1960 to 1995. The unicameral House of Representatives, (Maltese: Kamra tad-Deputati),HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery

is elected by direct universal suffrage through single transferable voteevery five years, unless the House is dissolved earlier by the President on advice of the Prime Minister.

The House of Representatives is made up of sixty-nine Members of Parliament.HP Pavilion dv8000 battery

However, where a party wins an absolute majority of votes, but does not have a majority of seats, that party is given additional seats to ensure a parliamentary majority. The Constitution of Malta provides that the President appoint as Prime Minister the member of the House who is best able to command a (governing) majority in the House.HP PAVILION DV6000 Battery

The President of Malta is appointed for a five-year term by a resolution of the House of Representatives carried by a simple majority. The role of the President as head of state is largely ceremonial. The main political parties are the Nationalist Party, which is a Christian democratic party, and the Labour Party, which is a social democratic party.HP PAVILION DV8000 Battery

The Nationalist Party is currently at the helm of the government, the Prime Minister being Dr. Lawrence Gonzi. The Labour Party, with Dr. Joseph Muscat as its leader, is in opposition. There are a number of smaller political parties in Malta that presently have no parliamentary representation.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ Battery

Until World War II Maltese politics was dominated by the language question fought out by pro-Italian and pro-British parties.[61]Post-War politics dealt with constitutional questions on the relations with Britain (first with integration then independence) and, eventually, relations with the European Union.HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

Administrative divisions

Malta has had a system of local government since 1993, based on the European Charter of Local Self-Government. There are at present 68 local councils (54 in Malta and 14 in Gozo).HP Pavilion DV8000 battery

Sixteen "hamlets", which form part of larger councils, have their own Administrative Committee. There are no intermediate levels between local government and national government and the levels of the six districts (five on the main island) and of the three regions (two on the main island) serve primarily statistical purposes.HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

Each council is made up of a number of councillors (from five to eleven, depending and relative to the population they represent). A Mayor and a Deputy Mayorare elected by and from the Councillors. The Executive Secretary, who is appointed by the council, is the executive, administrative and financial head of the council.HP Pavilion DV8000 battery

Councillors are elected every four years through the single transferable vote. People who are eligible to vote in the election of the Maltese House of Representatives as well as resident citizens of the EU are eligible to vote. Due to the recent reform of the system, no elections will be held before 2012 from when elections will be held every two years for an alternating half of the councils.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ18 Battery

Local councils are responsible for the general upkeep and embellishment of the locality (including repairs to non-arterial roads), allocation of local wardens and refuse collection; they also carry out general administrative duties for the central government such as collection of government rents and funds and answer government-related public inquiries.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ21E Battery

Military

The objectives of the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) are to maintain a military organisation with the primary aim of defending the islands' integrity according to the defence roles as set by the government in an efficient and cost effective manner. This is achieved by emphasising the maintenance of Malta's territorial waters and airspace integrity.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

The AFM also engages in combating terrorism, fighting against illicit drug trafficking, conducting anti-illegal immigrant and anti-illegal fishing operations, operating Search and rescue (SAR) services, and physical/electronic security/surveillance of sensitive locations.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

Malta's Search and Rescue area extends from east of Tunisia to west of Crete covering an area of around 250,000 km2.

As a military organisation, the AFM provides backup support to the Malta Police Force (MPF) and other government departments/agencies in situations as required in an organised,SONY VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

disciplined manner in the event of national emergencies (such as natural disasters) or internal security and bomb disposal.

On another level, the AFM establishes and/or consolidates bilateral co-operation with other countries to reach higher operational effectiveness related to AFM roles.SONY VAIO VGN-NR11S/S Battery

Geography

Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean Sea (in its eastern basin), some 93 km (57.79 mi) south of the Italian island of Sicily across the Malta Channel. Only the three largest islands – Malta (Malta), Gozo (G?awdex), and Comino (Kemmuna) – are inhabited.SONY VAIO VGN-NR11M/S Battery

The smaller islands (see below) are uninhabited. The islands of the archipelago were 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. The archipelago lies on the edge of the African tectonic plate where it meets the Eurasian plate.SONY VAIO VGN-NR11Z/S Battery

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. Although there are some small rivers at times of high rainfall, there are no permanent rivers or lakes on Malta.Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

However, some watercourses have fresh water running all year round at Ba?rija, l-Imta?leb and San Martin, and at Lunzjata Valley in Gozo.

Phytogeographically, Malta belongs to the Liguro-Tyrrhenian province of the Mediterranean Region within the Boreal Kingdom.Sony VAIO VGN-NR11S/S Battery

According to the WWF, the territory of Malta belongs to the ecoregion of "Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands and Scrub".

The minor islands that form part of the archipelago are uninhabited and include:Sony VAIO VGN-NR11Z/S Battery

  • Barbaganni Rock (Gozo)
  • Cominotto, (Kemmunett)
  • Delimara Island (Marsaxlokk)
  • Filfla (?urrieq)/(Siggiewi)
  • Fessej Rock  Sony VAIO VGN-NR11M/S Battery
  • Fungus Rock, (Il-?ebla tal-?eneral) (Gozo)
  • G?allis Rock (Naxxar)
  • ?alfa Rock (Gozo)
  • Large Blue Lagoon Rocks (Comino)Sony VAIO VGN-NR11Z/T Battery
  • Islands of St. Paul/Selmunett Island (Mellie?a)
  • Manoel Island, which connects to the town of G?ira, on the mainland, via a bridge  SONY VAIO VGN-FZ180E Battery
  • Mistra Rocks (San Pawl il-Ba?ar)
  • Ta?-?awl Rock (Gozo)
  • Qawra Point/Ta` Fraben Island (San Pawl il-Ba?ar)
  • Small Blue Lagoon Rocks (Comino)SONY VAIO VGN-FZ220E Battery
  • Sala Rock (?abbar)
  • Xrobb l-G?a?in Rock (Marsaxlokk)
  • Ta'that il-Mazz RockSONY VAIO VGN-FZ340E Battery

Climate

Malta has a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classificationCsa),  with mild winters and warm to hot summers. Rain occurs mainly in winter, with summer being generally dry.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ460E Battery

The average yearly temperature is 22–23 °C (72–73 °F) during the day and 15 °C (59 °F) at night. In the coldest month – January – the temperature ranges from 12 to 20 °C (54 to 68 °F) during the day and 7 to 12 °C (45 to 54 °F) at night.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ480E Battery

In the warmest month – August – the temperature ranges from 28 to 34 °C (82 to 93 °F) during the day and 19 to 24 °C (66 to 75 °F) at night. Generally – summer's/holiday season lasts to 8 months, starting from around mid-April with temperatures 19–23 °C (66–73 °F) during the day and 13–14 °C (55–57 °F) at night,SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31E Battery

ending in November with temperatures 17–23 °C (63–73 °F) during the day and 11–20 °C (52–68 °F) at night, although also in the remaining 4 months temperatures sometimes reach 20 °C (68 °F). Amongst all capitals in the continent of Europe, Valletta – the capital of Malta has the warmest winters,SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31B Battery

with average temperatures of 15–16 °C (59–61 °F) during the day and 9–10 °C (48–50 °F) at night in the period January–February. In March and December average temperatures is around 17 °C (63 °F) during the day and 11 °C (52 °F) at night. Large fluctuations in temperature are rare. Also, Malta is one of the few places in Europe which are "green" all year round.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31J Battery

Average annual temperature of the sea is 20 °C (68 °F) (the highest in the continent of Europe), from 16 °C (61 °F) in January to 26 °C (79 °F) in August. In the entire 6 months – from June to November – the average sea temperature exceeds 21 °C (70 °F).SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31M Battery

Sunshine hours total around 3,000 per year (one of the highest results in Europe), from an average above five hours of sunshine per day in December to an average above 12 hours in July. This is about double that of cities in the northern half of Europe, for comparison: London – 1,461,SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31Z Battery

however in winter up to some times more sunshine, for comparison: London has 37 hours while Malta has 155 or 164 (depending on the sources) hours of sunshine in December.

Economy

Malta is classified as an advanced economy together with 32 other countries according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).SONY VAIO VGN-FZ38M Battery

Until 1800 Malta depended on cotton, tobacco and its shipyards for exports. After the British arrived, they came to depend on the dockyard for support of the Royal Navy, especially during the Crimean War of 1854. The military base benefited craftsmen and all those who served the military.SONY VGP-BPS8 Battery

In 1869 the opening of the Suez Canal gave Malta's economy a great boost, as there was a massive increase in the shipping which entered the port. Ships stopping at Malta's docks for refuelling helped the Entrepôt trade, which brought additional benefits to the island.SONY VGP-BPS13/S Battery

However, towards the end of the 19th century the economy began declining, and by the 1940s Malta's economy was in serious crisis. One factor was the longer range of newer merchant ships that required less frequent refuelling stops.SONY VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

Currently, Malta’s major resources are limestone, a favourable geographic location and a productive labour force. Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited freshwater supplies and has no domestic energy sources. The economy is dependent on foreign trade (serving as a freight trans-shipment point), manufacturing (especially electronics and textiles) and tourism.SONY VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

Malta is a popular tourist destination, with 1.2 million tourists every year. Three times more tourists visit than there are residents. Tourism infrastructure has increased dramatically over the years and a number of good-quality hotels are present on the island, although overdevelopment and the destruction of traditional housing is of growing concern.SONY VGP-BPS13A/S Battery

An increasing number of Maltese now travel abroad on holiday.Although they are still a net importer of tourism, the ratio of inbound tourists to outbound tourists is decreasing.

Film production is a growing contributor to the Maltese economy, with several big-budget foreign films shooting in Malta each year.SONY VGP-BPS13AS Battery

The country has increased the exports of many other types of services such as banking and finance.

The government is investing heavily in education, including college.Dell Inspiron 1320n Battery

Malta has recently privatised some state-controlled firms and liberalised markets in order to prepare for membership in theEuropean Union, which it joined on 1 May 2004. For example, the government announced on 8 January 2007 that it is selling its 40% stake in Maltapost, in order to complete a privatisation process which has been ongoing for the past five years.SONY VGP-BPS13AS Battery

In 2010, Malta has managed to privatize telecommunications, postal services, shipyards and shipbuilding. Public Transport in Malta shall be privatized on the 3rd of July 2011.

Malta and Tunisia are currently discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for petroleum exploration.Dell Inspiron 1320n Battery

These discussions are also undergoing between Malta and Libya for similar arrangements.

Malta does not have a property tax.

According to Eurostat data, Maltese PPS GDP per capita stood at 76 per cent of the EU average in 2008.Dell Studio 1450 Battery

Banking

The two largest banks in the country are Bank of Valletta and HSBC Bank Malta, both of which can trace their origins back to the 19th Century, making them the earliest established banks in the country. Malta is also home to an international financial centre with several foreign offshore banks.Dell Studio 1457 Battery

The Central Bank of Malta (Bank ?entrali ta' Malta), has two key areas of responsibility: the formulation and implementation of monetary policy and the promotion of a sound and efficient financial system. It was established by the Central Bank of Malta Act on 17 April 1968.Dell Latitude D610 Battery

The Maltese government entered ERM II on 4 May 2005, and adopted the euro as the country's currency on 1 January 2008.

Transport

Traffic in Malta drives on the left, as in the UK. Car ownership in Malta is exceedingly high, given the very small size of the islands;Dell Studio 1457 Battery

it is the fourth highest in the European Union. The number of registered cars in 1990 amounted to 182,254, giving an automobile density of 582 /km2(1,510 /sq mi).

Malta has 2,254 kilometres (1,401 mi) of road, 1,972 km (1,225 mi) (87.5%) of which are paved and 282 km (175 mi) were unpaved (December 2003).Toshiba Satellite M60 battery

The main roads of Malta from the southest point to the northest point are these: B'Bugia Road in Bir?ebbu?a, G?ar Dalam Road and Tal-Barrani Road in?ejtun, St. Lucia Avenue in Paola, Malta, Aldo Moro Street (Trunk Road), 13 December Street and ?amrun-Marsa Bypass in Marsa, Malta,Dell Latitude D830 Battery

Regional Road inSanta Venera/Msida/G?ira/San ?wann, St. Andrew's Road in Swieqi/Pembroke, Malta, Coast Road in Bahar ic-Caghaq, Salina Road, Kennedy Drive, St. Paul's Bypass and Xemxija Hill in San Pawl il-Ba?ar, Mistra Hill, Wettinger Street (Mellie?a Bypass) and Marfa Road in Mellie?a.Dell Latitude D620 Battery

Buses (xarabank or karozza tal-linja) are the primary method of public transport for the islands, which offer a relatively cheap and frequent service to many parts of Malta and Gozo. The vast majority of buses on Malta depart from a large circular terminus in Valletta.Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Battery

The island has had buses since 1905. Due to their appearance, Malta's classic buses have become tourist attractions in their own right and appear on many Maltese advertisements to promote tourism, as well as on gifts and merchandise for tourists. However, these old buses are slowly being replaced by a more modern fleet, albeit still customised in the tradition of the older buses.Sony VGN-FW11S Battery

The buses used to be colour coded, according to the their routes, before being painted green. Now the buses in Malta are all dark yellow, with a band of orange, while those on the sister island of Gozo are grey, with a red band.Sony VGN-FW11M Battery

There are approximately 500 buses in public transit service in Malta. The drivers themselves own most of the buses, but operate to a unified timetable set by the transport authority. Malta buses carry approximately 31 million passengers per year. On any one day, half the bus fleet works on the public transport network (called 'route buses'),Sony VGN-FW139E/H battery

while the other half provides private tours and school transportation.

Between 1883 and 1931, Malta had a railway line that connected Valletta to the army barracks at Mtarfa via Mdina and a number of towns and villages.Dell Latitude E5400 Battery

The railway fell into disuse and eventually closed altogether, following the introduction of electric trams and buses. At the height of the bombing of Malta duringWorld War II, Mussolini announced that his forces had destroyed the railway system but by the time war broke out, the railway had been mothballed for more than nine years.Dell Latitude E4200 Battery

A new public transport network will be in service from 3 July 2011.This will include a day service from 6am to 11pm and a night service from 11pm to 6am. The new network will provide three types of services. The fast Crossline services operating at a frequency of 30 minutes.Dell Inspiron 300M Battery

The Crossline service shall connect with Mainline services, which will operate at a frequency of between 10 and 30 minutes. At regional and local levels the Feederlines will serve villages and neighbouring areas at a frequency of 30 minutes. Apart from the interchange at Valletta, which is to be upgraded,Dell Studio 1737 battery

other major interchanges in the network will be at Mater Dei Hospital, Luxol in Swieqi, Paola, Marsa, Malta International Airport and Msida. Public transport information will be made available in various media including real time, mobile and online. Enhanced bus stop and interchange facilities will provide shelter, security, information, comfort and convenience.Dell Inspiron E1505 battery

The new public transport network is contracted to Arriva for a period of 10 years. The new public transport system shall see public buses change color from yellow (current) to an aquamarine base color.

Malta has three large natural harbours on its main island, these include the Grand Harbour in Valletta and Marsamxett Harbour within close proximityDell RM791 battery

  • The Grand Harbour (or Port il-Kbir), located at the eastern side of the capital city of Valletta, has been a harbour since Roman times. It has several extensive docks and wharves, as well as a cruise liner terminal. A terminal at the Grand Harbour serves ferries that connect Malta to Pozzallo & Catania inSicily.Acer Aspire One battery 10400mAh
  • Marsamxett Harbour, located on the western side of Valletta, accommodates a number of yacht marinas.
  • Marsaxlokk Harbour (Malta Freeport), at Marsaxlokk on the south-eastern side of Malta, is the islands' main cargo terminal.Dell Precision M70 Battery
  • Malta Freeport is the 11th busiest container ports in continent of Europe and 46th in the World with a trade volume of 2.3 million TEU's in 2008.

There are also two man-made harbours that serve a passenger and car ferry service that connects ?irkewwa Harbour on Malta and M?arr Harbour on Gozo. The ferry makes numerous runs each day.SONY VGN -FZ210CE Battery

Malta International Airport (Ajruport Internazzjonali ta' Malta) is the only airport serving the Maltese Islands. It is built on the land formerly occupied by the RAF Luqa air base. A heliport is also located there, but the scheduled service to Gozo ceased in 2006. The heliport in Gozo is at Xewkija.Toshiba Satellite L305 Battery

Since June 2007, Harbour Air Malta has operated a thrice-daily floatplane service between the sea terminal in Grand Harbour and Mgarr Harbour in Gozo.

Two further airfields at Ta' Qali and ?al Far airfields operated during World War II and into the 1960s but are now closed.Toshiba Satellite T4900 Battery

Today, Ta' Qali houses a national park, stadium, the Crafts Village visitor attraction and the Malta Aviation Museum. This museum preserves several aircraft, including Hurricane and Spitfirefighters that defended the island in World War II.Toshiba PA3399U-2BRS battery

The national airline is Air Malta, which is based at Malta International Airport, and which operates services to 36 destinations in Europe and North Africa. The owners of Air Malta are the Government of Malta (98%) and private investors (2%). Air Malta employs 1,547 staff. It has a 25% shareholding in Medavia.Sony VGP-BPS10 battery

Air Malta has concluded over 191 interline ticketing agreements with other IATA airlines. It also has a codeshare agreement with Qantas covering the following routes: Sydney–Singapore–Heathrow–Malta, Sydney–Bangkok–Heathrow–Malta and Melbourne–Singapore–Heathrow–Malta.Sony VGP-BPS9 battery

In September 2007, Air Malta made two agreements with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways by which Air Malta wet-leased two Airbus aircraft to Etihad Airways for the winter period starting 1 September 2007, and provided operational support on another Airbus A320, aircraft which it leased to Etihad Airways.Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

Communications

The mobile penetration rate in Malta stood at 101.3% as at the end of 2009.  Malta uses the GSM900 mobile phone system. This is compatible with the rest of the European countries, Australia and also New Zealand.Sony VGP-BPS22 battery

There are no area codes in Malta, subscribers' numbers having eight digits. Fixed line telephone numbers have the prefix 2, while mobile telephone numbers have the prefix 7or 9. When calling Malta from abroad, one must first dial the international access code, then the country code +356 and the subscriber's number.Sony VGP-BPL8 battery

Currency

Maltese euro coins feature the Maltese Cross on €2 and €1 coins, the Maltese Coat of Arms on the €0.50, €0.20 and €0.10 coins, and the Mnajdra Temples on the €0.05, €0.02 and €0.01 coins.Sony VGP-BPS14 battery

Malta has produced collectors' coins with face value ranging from 10 to 50 euro. These coins continue an existing national practice of minting of silver and gold commemorative coins. Unlike normal issues, these coins are not legal tender in all the eurozone. For instance, a €10 Maltese commemorative coin cannot be used in any other country.Sony VGP-BPS21 battery

From 1972 until introduction of the Euro in 2008, the currency was the Maltese Lira, which had replaced the Maltese pound. The pound replaced the Maltese scudo in 1798.

Tourism

In recent years, Malta has advertised itself as a medical tourism destination,  and a number of health tourism providers are developing the industry.Toshiba Satellite A200 Battery

However, no Maltese hospital has undergone independent international healthcare accreditation. Malta is popular with British medical tourists, pointing Maltese hospitals towards seeking UK-sourced accreditation, such as with the Trent Accreditation Scheme.Toshiba Satellite M300 Battery

Dual accreditation with the American-oriented Joint Commission is necessary if hospitals in Malta wish to compete with the Far East and Latin America for medical tourists from the United States.

Demographics

Malta conducts a census of population and housing every ten years.Toshiba Satellite 1200 Battery

The census held in November 2005 managed to count an estimated 96% of the population . A preliminary report was issued in April 2006, and results were weighted to an estimate for 100% of the population.

Native Maltese people make up the majority of the island.SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery

However there are minorities, the largest of which are British people, many of whom retired to Malta. The resident population of Malta, which includes foreigners residing in Malta for at least a year, as of 27 November 2005 was estimated at 404,039 of whom 200,715 (49.7%) were male and 203,324 (50.3%) were female.SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery

Of these, 17.1 per cent were aged 14 and under, 68.2 per cent were within the 15–64 age bracket whilst the remaining 13.7 per cent were 65 years and over. Malta's population density of 1,282 per square kilometer (3,322/sq mi) is by far the highest in the EU (not counting Monaco and Vatican City), and one of the highest in the world.SONY VGP-BPS13/Q Battery

The only census year showing a fall in population was that of 1967, with a 1.7% total decrease, attributable to a substantial number of Maltese residents who emigrated.

The Maltese-resident population for 2004 was estimated to make up 97.0% of the total resident population.SONY VGP-BPS13/Q Battery

All censuses since 1842 have shown a slight excess of females over males. The 1901 and 1911 censuses came closest to recording a balance. The highest female-to-male ratio was reached in 1957 (1088:1000), and since the ratio has been constantly dropping. The 2005 census showed a 1013:1000 female-to-male ratio.SONY VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

Population growth has slowed down, from +9.5% between the 1985 and 1995 censuses, to +6.9% between the 1995 and 2005 censuses (a yearly average of +0.7%). The birth rate stood at 3860 (a decrease of 21.8% from the 1995 census) and the death rate stood at 3025.SONY VGP-BPS21/S Battery

Thus, there was a natural population increase of 835 (compared to +888 for 2004, of which over a hundred were foreign residents).

The population's age composition is similar to the age structure prevalent in the EU. Since 1967 there was observed a trend indicating an ageing population, and is expected to continue in the foreseeable future.SONY VGP-BPS21B Battery

Malta's old-age-dependency-ratio rose from 17.2% in 1995 to 19.8% in 2005, reasonably lower than the EU's 24.9% average. In fact, 31.5% of the Maltese population is aged under 25 (compared to the EU's 29.1%); but the 50–64 age group constitutes 20.3% of the population, significantly higher than the EU's 17.9%.SONY VGP-BPS21A Battery

In conclusion, Malta's old-age-dependency-ratio is expected to continue rising steadily in the coming years.

Maltese legislation recognizes both civil and canonical (ecclesiastical) marriages. Annulments by the ecclesiastical and civil co

urts are unrelated and are not necessarily mutually endorsed.SONY VGP-BPS21 Battery

There is no divorce legislation, and abortion in Malta is illegal. A person must be 16 to marry.The number of brides aged under 25 decreased from 1471 in 1997 to 766 in 2005; while the number of grooms under 25 decreased from 823 to 311. There is a constant trend that females are more likely than males to marry young.Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

In 2005 there were 51 brides aged between 16 and 19, compared to 8 grooms.

At the end of 2007 the population of the Maltese Islands stood at 410,290 and is expected to reach 424,028 by 2025. At the moment, females slightly outnumber males, making up 50.3 per cent of the population.Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery

The largest proportion of persons – 7.5 per cent – were aged 25–29, while there were 7.3% falling into each of the 45–49 and 55–59 age brackets.

Languages

The Maltese language (Maltese: Malti) is the constitutional national language of Malta.Sony VGP-BPS21A Battery

The Constitution also enshrines it as the country's official language, alongside English. Italian was the official language of Malta until 1934, when English and Maltese replaced it.

Maltese is originally a Semitic language descended from Siculo-Arabic (from southern Italy).Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery

The Maltese alphabet consists of 30 letters based on the Latin alphabet, including the diacriticallyaltered letters ?, ?and ?, as well as the letters g?, ?, and ie.

Maltese has a semitic base with substantial borrowing from Sicilian, Italian, a little French, and more recently, and increasingly, English.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

The language includes different dialects that can vary strongly from one town to another or from one island to another.

The Eurobarometer states that 100% of the population speak Maltese. Also, 88% of the population speak English, 66% speak Italian, and 17% speak French.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31E Battery

This widespread knowledge of second languages makes Malta one of the most multi-lingual countries in the European Union. A study collecting public opinion on what language was "preferred" discovered that 86% of the population express a preference for Maltese, 12% for English, and 2% for Italian.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31B Battery

Still, Italian television channels from Italy-based broadcasters, such as Mediaset and RAI, reach Malta and remain popular.

Religion

The Constitution of Malta declares Roman Catholicism as the state religion although entrenched provisions for the freedom of religion are made.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31M Battery

Freedom House and the World Factbook report that 98% of the population is Roman Catholic, making the nation one of the most Catholic countries in the world.

There are more than 360 churches in Malta, Gozo, and Comino, or one church for every 1,000 residents.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31Z Battery

The parish church (Maltese: "il-parro??a", or "il-knisja parrokjali") is the architectural and geographic focal point of every Maltese town and village, and its main source of civic pride. This civic pride manifests itself in spectacular fashion during the local village festas,Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

which mark the day of the patron saint of each parish with marching bands, religious processions, special Masses, fireworks (especially petards), and other festivities.

Malta is an Apostolic See; the Acts of the Apostles tells of how St. Paul, on his way from Crete to Rome to face trial, was shipwrecked on the island of "Melite",Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

which many Bible scholars identify with Malta, an episode dated around AD 60.  The Acts of the Apostles says St. Paul spent three months on the island, curing the sick including the father of Publius, the "chief man of the island". Various traditions are associated with this account.Dell Inspiron Mini 12 battery

The shipwreck is said to have occurred in the place today known as St Paul's Bay. Saint Publius is said to have been made Malta's first bishop and a grotto in Rabat, now known as "St Paul's Grotto" (and in the vicinity of which evidence of Christian burials and rituals from the 3rd century AD has been found), is amongst the earliest known places of Christian worship on the island.Dell Inspiron 1720 battery

Further evidence of Christian practices and beliefs during the period of Roman persecution appears in catacombs that lie beneath various sites around Malta, including St Paul’s Catacombs and St Agatha’s Catacombs in Rabat, just outside the walls of Mdina.Dell Inspiron 1564 battery

The latter, in particular, were beautifully frescoed between 1200 and 1480, although marauding Turks defaced many of them in the 1550s. There are also a number of cave churches, including the grotto atMellie?a, which is a Shrine of the Nativity of Our Lady where, according to legend, St. Luke painted a picture of the Madonna.Dell Inspiron 1464 battery

It has been a place of pilgrimage since medieval times.

The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon record that in 451 AD, a certain Acacius was Bishop of Malta (Melitenus Episcopus).Dell XPS 1340 battery

It is also known that in 501 AD, a certain Constantinus, Episcopus Melitenensis, was present at the Fifth Ecumenical Council. In 588 AD, Pope Gregory I deposed Tucillus, Miletinae civitatis episcopus, and the clergy and people of Malta elected his successor Trajan in 599 AD.Dell INSPIRON 9100 battery

The last recorded Bishop of Malta before the invasion of the Islands was a Greek by the name of Manas, who was subsequently incarcerated atPalermo.

Maltese historian, Giovanni Francesco Abela, states that following their conversion to Christianity at the hand of St. Paul, the Maltese retained their Christian religion, despite the Fatimid invasion.Dell Inspiron N4010 battery

Abela's writings describe Malta as a divinely ordained "bulwark of Christian, European civilization against the spread of Mediterranean Islam". The native Christian community that welcomed Roger I of Sicily  was further bolstered by immigration to Malta from Italy, in the 12th and 13th centuries.Dell N3010 battery

For centuries, the Church in Malta was subordinate to the Diocese of Palermo, except when it was under Charles of Anjou, who appointed bishops for Malta, as did – on rare occasions – the Spanish and later, the Knights. Since 1808 all bishops of Malta have been Maltese.HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA battery

As a result of the Norman and Spanish periods, and the rule of the Knights, Malta became the devout Catholic nation that it is today. It is worth noting that the Office of the Inquisitor of Malta had a very long tenure on the island following its establishment in 1530: the last Inquisitor departed from the Islands in 1798,HP Pavilion DM4 battery

after the Knights capitulated to the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte. During the period of the Republic of Venice, several Maltese families emigrated to Corfu. Their descendants account for about two-thirds of the community of some 4000 Catholics that now live on that island.HP Pavilion DM3 battery

The patron saints of Malta are Saint Paul, Saint Publius, Saint Agatha and Saint George. Although not a patron saint, St George Preca (San ?or? Preca) is greatly revered as the first canonised Maltese saint. Pope Benedict XVI canonised him on 3 June 2007.Compaq CQ35-100 battery

Also, a number of Maltese individuals are recognised as Blessed, including Maria Adeodata Pisani and Nazju Falzon, with Pope John Paul II having beatified them in 2001.

Various Roman Catholic religious orders are present in Malta, including the Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans and Little Sisters of the Poor.HP DV9700 battery

Most congregants of the local Protestant churches are not Maltese; their congregations draw on the many British retirees living in the country and vacationers from many other nations. There are approximately 500 Jehovah's Witnesses; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the Bible Baptist Church,HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

and the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches have about 60 affiliates. There are also some churches of other denominations, such as St. Andrew's Scots Church in Valletta (a joint Presbyterian and Methodist congregation) and St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, as well as a Seventh-day Adventist church in Birkirkara.HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 battery

The Jewish population of Malta reached its peak in the Middle Ages under Norman rule. In 1479, Malta and Sicily came under Aragonese rule and the Alhambra Decree of 1492 forced all Jews to leave the country, permitting them to take with them only a few of their belongings.HP Pavilion ZD8227 battery

Several dozen Maltese Jews may have converted to Christianity at the time in order to remain in the country. Today, there is one Jewish congregation.

Zen Buddhism and the Bahá'í Faith claim some 40 members. There is one Muslim mosque.HP Compaq Business Notebook TC4400 battery

A Muslim primary school recently opened; its existence remains a point of some controversy. Of the estimated 3,000 Muslims in Malta, approximately 2,250 are foreigners, approximately 600 are naturalized citizens, and approximately 150 are native-born Maltese.HP Pavilion DV7-2085EL battery

Migration

EU nationals require neither a visa nor a passport (an ID card or an expired passport are enough) to enter the country. Citizens of some developed countries do not need a visa and can live in Malta for up to three months providing they have a valid passport .Compaq Presario 300 battery

Visas for other nationalities are valid for one month.

Immigrants, even those with EU citizenship, are required to apply for a work permit. This exception to EU law was agreed upon before accession to safeguard the Maltese labour market.HP Compaq Business Notebook 6735S battery

The estimated net inflow (using data for 2002 to 2004) was of 1,913 persons yearly. Over the last 10 years, Malta accepted back a yearly average of 425 returning emigrants.

During 2006, a total of 1,800 illegal immigrants reached Malta making the crossing from the North Africa coast.HP Pavilion DV2820EA battery

Most of them intended to reach mainland Europe and happened to come to Malta due to their sub-standard vessels breaking down, or being caught by Maltese and other EU officials. In the first half of 2006, 967 irregular immigrants arrived in Malta – almost double the 473 who arrived in the same period in 2005.HP Pavilion DV6373EA battery

Many immigrants have perished in the journey across the Mediterranean, with one notable incident being the May 2007 Malta migrant boat disaster.

Around 45% of immigrants landed in Malta have been granted refugee (5%) or protected humanitarian status (40%).HP Compaq 572190-001 battery

A White Paper suggesting the grant of Maltese citizenship to refugees resident in Malta for over ten years was issued in 2005. Historically Malta gave refuge (and assisted in their resettlement) to eight hundred or so East African Asians who had been expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin and to just under a thousand Iraqis fleeing Saddam Hussein's regime.Compaq Presario CQ50-105EL battery

Detention costs for the first half of 2006 alone cost € 746,385.

In 2005, Malta sought EU aid in relation to reception of irregular immigrants, repatriation of those denied refugee status, resettlement of refugees into EU countries, and maritime security.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO battery

In December 2005, the European Council adopted The Global Approach to Migration: Priority Actions focusing on Africa and the Mediterranean; but the deployment of said actions has been limited to the western Mediterranean, thus putting further pressure on the central Mediterranean route for irregular immigration of which Malta forms a part.Compaq Presario CQ71 battery

In the 19th century, most emigration from Malta was to North Africa and the Middle East, although rates of return migration to Malta were high. Nonetheless, Maltese communities formed in these regions. By 1900, for example, British consular estimates suggest that there were 15,326 Maltese in Tunisia, and in 1903 it was claimed that 15,000 people of Maltese origin were living in Algeria.HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

Malta experienced significant emigration as a result of the collapse of a construction boom in 1907 and after World War Two, when the birth rate increased significantly, but in the 20th century most emigrants went to destinations in the New World, particularly the United States and Australia.Compaq Presario CQ70 battery

After World War Two, Malta's Emigration Department would assist emigrants with the cost of their travel. Between 1948 and 1967, 30 per cent of the population emigrated. Between 1946 and the late 1970s, over 140,000 people left Malta on the assisted passage scheme, with 57.6% migrating to Australia, 22% to the UK, 13% to Canada and 7% to the United States.HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

Emigration dropped dramatically after the mid-1970s and has since ceased to be a social phenomenon of significance. However, since Malta joined the EU in 2004 expatriate communities emerged in a number of European countries particularly in Belgium and Luxembourg.HP TouchSmart TX2-1150EG battery

Education

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, both running a number of schools in Malta and Gozo, including De La Salle College in Cospicua, St.HP 520 battery

Aloysius' College in Birkirkara, St. Joseph's School in Blata l-Bajda and Saint Monica Girls' School inMosta. A number of private schools are run in Malta, including San Andrea School and San Anton School in the valley of L-Imselliet (l/o M?arr), St. Martin's College in Swatar and St. Michael's School in San Gwann.Asus ADP-36EH C Adapter

As of 2008, there are two international schools, Verdala International School and QSI Malta. The state pays a portion of the teachers' salary in Church schools.

Education in Malta is based on the British model. Primary school lasts six years.Dell PA-10 Adapter

At the age of 11 pupils sit for an examination to enter a secondary school, either a church school (the Common Entrance Examination) or a state school. Pupils sit for SEC O-level examinations at the age of 16, with passes obligatory in certain subjects such as mathematics, English and Maltese.Delta ADP-90FB Adapter

Pupils may opt to continue studying at a sixth form college such as Junior College, St Aloysius' College, De La Salle College, St Edward's College or else at another post-secondary institution such as MCAST. The sixth form course lasts for two years, at the end of which students sit for the Matriculation examination.http://www.battery-pack.co.uk/

Subject to their performance, students may then apply for an undergraduate degree ordiploma.

The University of Malta (U.o.M.) provides Tertiary education at diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate level. The adult literacy rate is 92.8%.Delta ADP-90FB Adapter

Maltese and English are both used to teach students at primary and secondary school level, and both languages are also compulsory subjects. Public schools tend to use both Maltese and English in a balanced manner. Private schools prefer to use English for teaching, as is also the case with most departments of the University of Malta;Dell PA-10 Adapter

this has a limiting effect on the capacity and development of the Maltese language.Most university courses are in English.

Of the total number of students studying a first foreign language at secondary level, 51% take Italian whilst 38% take French. Other choices include German, Russian, Spanish, and Arabic.Dell PA-12 Adapter

Healthcare

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.Asus ADP-36EH C Adapter

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.Dell Inspiron 6400 Adapter

Malta was ranked number five in the World Health Organization's ranking of the world's health systems, compared to the United States (at 37), Australia (at 32), United Kingdom (at 18) and Canada(at 30). The healthcare system in Malta closely resembles the British system,[114]as healthcare is free at the point of delivery.Dell Inspiron 1520 Adapter

Malta also boasts voluntary organisations such as St John Ambulance, who provide first aid/nursing services during events involving crowds.

The Mater Dei Hospital, Malta's primary hospital, opened in 2007. It has one of the largest medical buildings in Europe. Other government hospitals in Malta include:Dell Inspiron 1525 Charger

  • Paul Boffa Hospital, an oncology hospital in Floriana
  • St Vincent De Paule Hospital, a geriatrics hospital
  • Gozo General Hospital, the only hospital on Gozo  HP Pavilion DV6000 Adapter

In addition, Malta has three major private hospitals:

  • St Philip's Hospital, with a capacity of 75 beds, is in Santa Venera (currently closed).
  • St James Capua Hospital (the former Capua Palace Hospital), with 80 beds, is in Sliema.Dell Latitude D820 Charger
  • St James Hospital has several sites, including a 13 bed unit in Zabbar, as well as a partner hospital in Libya.

St Mark's Clinic, in Msida, with a capacity of 5 beds, also offers some private hospital services.

The University of Malta has a medical school, and a Faculty of Health Sciences. The latter offering diploma, (BSc)degree and postgraduate degree courses in a number of health care disciplines.HP Pavilion DV9000 AC Adapter

The Medical Association of Malta represents practitioners of the medical profession. MMSA is a separate body representing Maltese medical students, and is a member of EMSA and IFMSA. MIME, the Maltese Institute for Medical Education, is an institute set up recently to provide CME to doctors in Malta as well as medical students.Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

The Foundation Program followed in the UK has been introduced in Malta in order to stem the 'brain drain' of newly graduated doctors to the British Isles. MADS, the Malta Association of Dental Students, is a student association set up to promote the rights of Dental Surgery Students studying within the faculty of Dental Surgery of the University of Malta.Sony VGP-BPS9 Battery

It is affiliated with IADS, the International Association of Dental Students.

Culture

The culture of Malta reflects the various cultures that have come into contact with the Maltese Islands throughout the centuries, including neighbouringMediterranean cultures, and the cultures of the nations that ruled Malta for long periods of time prior to its independence in 1964.Sony VGP-BPS12 Battery

Music

While Maltese music today is largely Western, traditional Maltese music includes what is known as g?ana. This consists of background folk guitar music, while a few people, generally men, take it in turns to argue a point in a sing-song voice.Dell Inspiron 6400 Battery

The aim of the lyrics, which are improvised, are to create a friendly yet challenging atmosphere, and it takes a number of years of practice to be able to combine the required artistic qualities with the ability to debate effectively.Dell Inspiron 1525 Battery

Literature

Documented Maltese literature is over 200 years old. However a recently unearthed love ballad testifies to literary activity in the local tongue from the Medieval period. Malta followed a Romantic literary tradition, culminating in the works of Dun Karm, Malta's National Poet.Dell XPS M1530 Battery

Subsequent writers like Ruzar Briffa and Karmenu Vassallo tried to estrange themselves from the rigidity of formal themes and versification.

It was late in the 1960s that Maltese literature experienced its most radical transformation amongst poets, prose writers and dramatists.Dell Inspiron 6000 Battery

Names of significant poets that stand out from the last quarter of the 20th century include Mario Azzopardi, Victor Fenech, Oliver Friggieri, Joe Friggieri, Charles Flores, Daniel Massa, Maria Ganado, Lillian Sciberras and Akille Mizzi. In prose, Frans Sammut, Paul P. Borg and Joe J. Camilleri led the avant-garde meanwhile among the prominent names in theatre are Francis Ebejer,Dell Inspiron 9400 Battery

Alfred Sant, Doreen Micallef, Oreste Calleja, Joe Friggieri and Martin Gauci.

The next generation of writers widened the tracks further, especially in prose. Guze' Stagno, Karl Schembri and Clare Azzopardi are young writers fast establishing themselves while in poetry, significant names include Adrian Grima, Immanuel Mifsud, Norbet Bugeja and Simone Inguanez.Dell latitude D600 Battery

In literary criticism, Peter Serracino Inglott, Oliver Friggieri and Charles Briffa introduced perceptive historical, philosophical and psycho-social themes into Maltese theory.

Other writers, born in Malta or of Maltese descent, have established careers abroad.Dell Inspiron 8600 Battery

These included the novelist Trezza Azzopardi, best-selling children's author Saviour Pirotta and comic-book artist/journalist Joe Sacco.

Art and architecture

Malta has a long history of architecture, influenced by many different Mediterranean cultures over its history, and most recently, British architecture.Dell Latitude D610 Battery

The first settlers on the island constructed ?gantija, one of the oldest manmade freestanding structure in the world. Malta is currently undergoing large scale building projects that includes constructions such as SmartCity Malta, the M-Towers, and Pendergardens, while areas such as theValletta Waterfront and Tigne Point are receiving renovation.Dell Inspiron 1520 Battery

The 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, designs painted in red ochre, ceramics, and a vast collection of human form sculptures, particularly the Venus of Malta.Dell XPS M1710 Battery

These can be viewed at the temples themselves (most notably, the Hypogeum and Tarxien Temples), and at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.

The Roman period introduced highly decorative mosaic floors, marble colonnades and classical statuary, remnants of which are beautifully preserved and presented in the Roman Domus, a country villa just outside the walls of Mdina.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

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.Dell XPS M1210 Battery

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 paintApple A1185 Battery

ers to decorate their palaces and the churches of these islands, most notably, Matteo Perez d'Aleccio, whose works appear in the Magisterial Palace and in theConventual Church of St. John in Valetta, and Filippo Paladini, who was active in Malta from 1590 to 1595. For many years, Mannerism continued to inform the tastes and ideals of local Maltese artists.Apple Powerbook G4 Battery

The arrival in Malta of Caravaggio, who painted at least seven works during his 15-month stay on these islands, further revolutionized local art. Two of Caravaggio's most notable works, The Beheading of Saint John the Baptistand Saint Jerome Writing, are on display in the Oratory of the Conventual Church of St. John.Apple MacBook Pro 17 inch Battery

His legacy is evident in the works of local artists Giulio Cassarino (1582–1637) and Stefano Erardi (1630–1716). However, the Baroque movement that followed was destined to have the most enduring impact on Maltese art and architecture. The glorious vault paintings of the celebrated Calabrese artist,Asus EEE PC Battery

Mattia Preti transformed the severe, Mannerist interior of the Conventual Church St. John into a Baroque masterpiece. Preti spent 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.Compaq V6000 Battery

During this period, local sculptor Melchior Gafà (1639–1667) emerged as one of the top Baroque sculptors of the Roman School.

During the 17th and 18th century, Neapolitan and Rococo influences emerged in the works of the Italian painters Luca Giordano (1632–1705) and Francesco Solimena (1657–1747),HP 6715B Battery

and these developments can be seen in the work of their Maltese contemporaries such as Giovanni Nicola Buhagiar (1698–1752) and Francesco Zahra (1710–1773). The Rococo movement was greatly enhanced by the relocation to Malta of Antoine de Favray (1706–1798), who assumed the position of court painter to Grand Master Pinto in 1744.HP 6910P Battery

Neo-classicism made some inroads among local Maltese artists in the late 18th century, but this trend was reversed in the early 19th century, as the local Church authorities – perhaps in an effort to strengthen Catholic resolve against the perceived threat of Protestantism during the early days of British rule in Malta –HP NX6325 Battery

favoured and avidly promoted the religious themes embraced by the Nazarene movement of artists. Romanticism, tempered by the naturalism introduced to Malta by Giuseppe Calì, informed the "salon" artists of the early 20th century, including Edward and Robert Caruana Dingli.HP NC6400 Battery

Parliament established the National School of Art in the 1920s. During the reconstruction period that followed the Second World War, the emergence of the "Modern Art Group", whose members included Josef Kalleya (1898–1998), George Preca (1909–1984), Anton Inglott (1915–1945), Emvin Cremona (1919–1986), Frank Portelli (b.1922), Antoine Camilleri (b.1922) and Esprit Barthet (b.1919) greatly enhanced the local art scene.HP NX6110 Battery

Cuisine

Maltese cuisine is typically Mediterranean in character, based on fresh seasonal locally available produce and seafood. While many dishes are native to the island, some popular Maltese recipes reflect Sicilian and Southern Italian as well as traces of Moorish, Spanish, Berber, French and British influences (such as qassatat).HP DV6000 Battery

There are many unique, distinctive and popular local dishes such as ftira bi?-?ejt(unleavened bread with tomatoes as its main ingredient and olive oil), ?bejniet(round cheeselet made from goats milk), pastizzi(made with puff pastry filled with either ricotta cheese or mashed peas) and ross il-forn(baked pre-boiled rice in a tomato and minced meat sauce).HP DV9000 Battery

Maltese cuisine is still popular in households and restaurants in Malta.

Influences from outside Malta continue to develop. Alongside the traditional cuisine of the island one can find an eclectic mix of dishes offered in various restaurants, drawn from Asia, North America etc.HP Pavilion ZE4400 Battery

Customs

A 2010 Charities Aid Foundation study found that Maltese were the most generous peoples in the world, with 83% contributing to charity.

Maltese folktales include various stories about mysterious creatures and supernatural events.ibm x60s battery

These were most comprehensively compiled by the scholar (and pioneer in Maltese archeology) Manwel Magri in his core criticism "?rejjef Missirijietna" ("Stories from our Forefathers"). This collection of material inspired subsequent researchers and academics to gather traditional tales, fables andlegends from all over the Archipelago.ibm t60 battery

Magri's work also inspired a series of comic books (released by Klabb Kotba Maltin in 1984): the titles included Bin is-Sultan Ji??ewwe? x-Xebba tat-Tron?iet Mewwijaand Ir-Rjie?. Many of these stories have been popularly re-written as Children's literature by authors writing in Maltese, such as Trevor ?ahra.ibm z60t battery

While giants, witches and dragons feature in many of the stories, some contain entirely Maltese creatures like the Kaw kaw, Il-Bellieg?a and L-Im?alla amongst others. The traditional Maltese obsession with maintaining spiritual (or ritual) purity means that many of these creatures have the role of guarding forbidden or restricted areas and attacking individuals who broke the strict codes of conduct that characterized the island's pre-industrial society.Sony VGP-BPS2 Battery

Traditions

Traditional Maltese proverbs reveal a cultural preoccupation with childbearing and fertility: "i?-?wie? ming?ajr tarbija ma fihx tgawdija"(a childless marriage cannot be a happy one).Sony VGP-BPS5 Battery

This is a belief that Malta shares with many other Mediterranean cultures. In Maltese folktales the local variant of the classic closing formula, "and they all lived happily ever after" is "u g?ammru u tg?ammru, u spi??at" (and they lived together, and they had children together, and the tale is finished).Sony VGP-BPS3 Battery

Rural Malta shares in common with Mediterranean and traditional Jewish society a number of superstitions regarding fertility, menstruation, and pregnancy, including the avoidance of cemeteries during the months leading up to childbirth, and avoiding the preparation of certain foods during menses.Toshiba PA3465U-1BRS Battery

Pregnant women are encouraged to satisfy their cravings for specific foods, out of fear that their unborn child will bear a representational birth mark (Maltese: xewqa, literally "desire" or "craving"). Maltese and Sicilian women also share certain traditions that are believed to predict the sex of an unborn child,Toshiba PA3331U-1BRS Battery

such as the cycle of the moon on the anticipated date of birth, whether the baby is carried "high" or "low" during pregnancy, and the movement of a wedding ring, dangled on a string above the abdomen (sideways denoting a girl, back and forth denoting a boy).Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

Traditionally, Maltese newborns were baptised as promptly as possible, partly out of fear of limbo should the child die in infancy, and partly because according to Maltese (and Sicilian) folklore an unbaptised child is not yet a Christian, but "still a Turk".Toshiba PA3166U-1BRS Battery

Traditional Maltese delicacies served at a baptismal feast include biskuttini tal-mag?mudija(almond macaroons covered in white or pink icing),it-torta tal-marmorata(a spicy, heart-shaped tart of chocolate-flavoured almond paste), and a liqueur known as ro?olin, made with rose petals, violets and almonds.Toshiba PA3479U-1BRS Battery

On a child's first birthday, in a tradition that still survives today, Maltese parents would organize a game known as il-qu??ija, where a variety of symbolic objects would be randomly placed around the seated child. These may include a hard-boiled egg, a Bible, crucifix or rosary beads, a book, and so on.Canon LP-E5 Battery

Whichever object the child shows most interest in is said to reveal the child's path and fortunes in adulthood.

Money refers to a rich future while a book expresses intelligence and a possible career as a teacher. Infants who select a pencil or pen will be writers.Canon EOS 450D Battery

Choosing bibles or rosary beads refers to a clerical or monastic life. If the child chooses a hard-boiled egg, it will have a long life and many children. More recent additions include calculators (refers to accounting), thread (fashion) and wooden spoons (cooking and a great appetite).Canon MV700 Battery

Traditional Maltese weddings featured the bridal party walking in procession beneath an ornate canopy, from the home of the bride's family to the parish church, with singers trailing behind serenading the bride and groom. The Maltese word for this custom is il-?ilwa.Sony NP-BD1 Battery

This custom along with many others has long since disappeared from the Islands, in the face of modern practices.

New wives would wear the g?onnella, a traditional item of Maltese clothing. However, it is no longer worn in modern Malta. Today's couples are married in churches or chapels in the village or town of their choice.Sony NP-BG1 Battery

The nuptials are usually followed by a lavish wedding reception, often including several hundred guests. Occasionally, couples will try to incorporate elements of the traditional Maltese wedding in their celebration. A resurgent interest in the traditional wedding was evident in May 2007,Sony DSC-P7 Battery

when thousands of Maltese and tourists attended a traditional Maltese wedding in the style of the 16th century, in the Village of ?urrieq. This included il-?ilwa, which led the bride and groom to a wedding ceremony that took place on the parvis of St. Andrew's Chapel. The reception that followed featured folklore music (g?ana) and dancing.DSC-P5 battery Battery

Festivals

Local festivals, similar to those in southern Italy, are commonplace in Malta and Gozo, celebrating weddings, christenings and, most prominently, saints' days, honouring the patron saint of the local parish.Nikon EN-EL8 Battery

On saints' days, the festareaches its apex with a High Mass featuring a sermon on the life and achievements of the patron saint, after which a statue of the religious patron is taken around the local streets in solemn procession, with the faithful following in respectful prayer.Nikon Coolpix 4300 Battery

The religious atmosphere quickly gives way to several days of revelry, band processions, fireworks, and late night parties. Lija is one villages with a notable firework display.

Carnival(Maltese: il-karnival ta' Malta) has had an important place on the cultural calendar after Grand Master Piero de Ponte introduced it to the Islands in 1535.Nikon d80 Battery Battery

It is held during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday, and typically includes masked balls, fancy dress and grotesque mask competitions, lavish late-night parties, a colourful, ticker-tape parade of allegorical floats presided over by King Carnival (Maltese: ir-Re tal-Karnival), marching bands and costumed revellers.Sony NP-FH100 Battery

Holy Week(Maltese: il-?img?a Mqaddsa) starts on Palm Sunday (?add il-Palm) and ends on Easter Sunday (?add il-G?id). Numerous religious traditions, most of them inherited from one generation to the next, are part of the paschal celebrations in the Maltese Islands, honouring the death and resurrection of Jesus.Sony NP-FS21 Battery

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