Background: Britain took possession of Malta in 1814. The island was defended by Britain in both World Wars and remained in the British Commonwealth of Nations when it gained independence in 1964. A decade later, Malta became a republic. Over the past 15 years, the island has become a major transport, financial and tourist center. It is an official candidate for EU membership.
Location: Southern Europe, islands in the Mediterranean, south of Sicily (Italy). See franciscogardening.com to know more about Malta Geography.
Geographical coordinates: 35° 50′ N. 14° 35′ E
Reference map: Europe.
Area: total: 316 km2; land surface area: 316 km2; water surface area: 0 km2
Comparative area: somewhat smaller than twice the size of Washington DC.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 196.8 km (including the island of Gozo – 56 km).
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 24 nautical miles; continental shelf: to a depth of 200 m or to the depth of field development; zone of exclusive right to fish: 25 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: Mediterranean with mild rainy winters and hot dry summers.
Terrain: mostly low-lying, rocky, flat or rugged plains; many coastal rocks.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m; highest point: Ta-Dmezhrek 253 m (near Dingli).
Natural resources: limestone, salt, fertile land.
Land use: arable land: 32%; cultivated land: 3%; pasture: 0%; forests and plantations: 4%; others: 61% (2000 est.).
Irrigated land: 11.45 km2 (2000 est.).
Natural hazards: no data available.
Current environmental issues: very limited natural fresh water resources; growing dependence on desalination.
International agreements on environmental protection: member: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Pollution, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands; signed but not ratified: Kiotsh Protocol. Note to the “Geography” section: the country is spread over an archipelago, only three largest islands are inhabited (Malta, Gozo, Comino); numerous bays are good harbours; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between the two states, especially oil production.
Note to the section “Geography”:
Population: 394,583 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 19.98% (male 40,791; female 38,062); 15 to 64 years old: 67.49% (male 133,914; female 132,402); over 65: 12.53% (male 20,643; female 28,771) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 0.74% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 12.75 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 7.74 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 2.37 /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.09 male/female; up to 15 years: 1.07 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.01 male/female; over 65: 0.72 male/female; for the general population: 0.98 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 5.83 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 78.1 years; men: 75.64 years; women: 80.79 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 1.92 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.52% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: no data.
AIDS deaths: less than 100 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Maltese; adjective: Maltese.
Ethnic groups: Maltese (descendants of the ancient Carthaginians and Phoenicians, with significant admixtures of Italians and other Mediterranean peoples).
Believers: Catholics 91%.
Languages): Maltese (official), English (official).
Literacy: definition: persons aged 10 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 88.76%; men: 86.9]%; women: 89.55% (1995 census).
Common long form: Republic of Malta;
conventional short form: Malta; local long form: Repubblika ta’ Malta; local short form: Malta
State structure: parliamentary democracy.
Administrative division: none (governed directly from Valletta).
Independence: since September 21, 1964 (former colony of Great Britain).
National holiday: Independence Day, September 21 (1964).
Constitution: adopted in 1964, substantially amended on December 13, 1974.
Legal system: based on English common law and Roman civil law; subject to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: President Guido DE MARCO (since 4 April 1999);
head of government: Prime Minister Eddie FENECH ADAMI (since 6 September 1998) Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence GONZE (since May 4, 1999);
Government: the cabinet is appointed by the president on the proposal of the prime minister; elections: the president is elected by the House of Representatives for a 5-year term; elections last held in April 1999 (next to be held in April 2004); after parliamentary elections, the president usually appoints the leader of the majority party as prime minister for 5 years; the Deputy Prime Minister is appointed by the President on the proposal of the Prime Minister; election results: Guido DE MARCO elected president; percentage of votes received by him in the House of Representatives: not available.
Legislature: unicameral House of Representatives (usually 65 seats; note – additional seats are given to the party with the most votes in the popular vote to secure a legislative majority; currently 65 seats in total; members are elected by popular vote on a proportional representation basis for 5 years); elections: last held 5 September 1998 (next to be held in September 2003); election results: distribution of votes between parties: PN 51.8%, MLP 46.9%, AD 1.2%; distribution of seats among parties: PN 35, MLP 30.
Judiciary: Constitutional Court; Court of Appeal; the judges of both courts are appointed by the President on the proposal of the Prime Minister.
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Alternative – Alliance for Social Justice (AD) (Harry VASSAL-LO); Malta Labor Party (MLP) (Alfred SANT); Nationalist Party (PN) (Edward FENECH ADAMI).
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: C, CCC, CE, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Diplomatic representation in the USA: Head of Mission: Ambassador George SALIBA; office: 2017 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 462-3611, 462-3612; fax:  (202) 387-5470; Consulate: New York.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador George SALIBA; embassy: 3rd Floor, Development House, Saint Anne Street, Floriana, Malta; mailing address: R. O. Box 535, Valletta; phone:  from 235960 to 235965; fax:  243229.
Description of the flag: two equal vertical stripes of white (from the hoist side) and red; in the upper left corner is the image of the cross of St. George bordered in red.