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Norman rulers expelled all Muslims who did not convert, and Aragonese rulers expelled unconverted Jews. Today, Catholicism is the state religion, but the Constitution of Malta guarantees freedom of conscience and religious worship.
The origin of the name Malta is uncertain, and the modern-day variation is derived from the Maltese language. Another conjecture suggests that the word Malta comes from the Phoenician word Maleth , "a haven",  or 'port'  in reference to Malta's many bays and coves.
Few other etymological mentions appear in classical literature, with the term Malta appearing in its present form in the Antonine Itinerary Itin.
Malta has been inhabited from around BC,  since the arrival of settlers from the island of Sicily.
After a probable sack by the Vandals,  Malta fell under Byzantine rule 4th to 9th century and the islands were then invaded by the Aghlabids in AD The fate of the population after the Arab invasion is unclear but it seems the islands may have been repopulated at the beginning of the second millennium by settlers from Arab-ruled Sicily who spoke Siculo-Arabic.
The Muslim rule was ended by the Normans who conquered the island in The islands were completely re-Christianised by The French under Napoleon took hold of the Maltese islands in , although with the aid of the British the Maltese were able to oust French control two years later.
The inhabitants subsequently asked Britain to assume sovereignty over the islands under the conditions laid out in a Declaration of Rights,  stating that "his Majesty has no right to cede these Islands to any power Malta became independent on 21 September Independence Day.
On 13 December Republic Day it became a republic within the Commonwealth , with the President as head of state. This day is known as Freedom Day and Malta declared itself as a neutral and non-aligned state.
Pottery found by archaeologists at the Skorba Temples resembles that found in Italy, and suggests that the Maltese islands were first settled in BC mainly by Stone Age hunters or farmers who had arrived from the Italian island of Sicily , possibly the Sicani.
The extinction of the dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants has been linked to the earliest arrival of humans on Malta. The Sicani were the only tribe known to have inhabited the island at this time   and are generally regarded as being closely related to the Iberians.
A culture of megalithic temple builders then either supplanted or arose from this early period. The temples have distinctive architecture, typically a complex trefoil design, and were used from to 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.
Archaeologists speculate that the temple builders fell victim to famine or disease, but this is not certain.
These may have been caused by wooden-wheeled carts eroding soft limestone. After 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.
They are claimed to belong to a population certainly different from that which built the previous megalithic temples.
It is presumed the population arrived from Sicily because of the similarity of Maltese dolmens to some small constructions found on the largest island of the Mediterranean sea.
Phoenician traders  colonised the islands sometime after BC  as a stop on their trade routes from the eastern Mediterranean to Cornwall , joining the natives on the island.
After the fall of Phoenicia in BC, the area came under the control of Carthage , a former Phoenician colony. The Greeks settled in the Maltese islands beginning circa BC, as testified by several architectural remains, and remained throughout the Roman dominium.
The depiction of aspects of the Punic religion, together with the use of the Greek alphabet, testifies to the resilience of Punic and Greek culture in Malta long after the arrival of the Romans.
In the 2nd century, Emperor Hadrian r. Malta became involved in the Arab—Byzantine wars , and the conquest of Malta is closely linked with that of Sicily that began in after Admiral Euphemius ' betrayal of his fellow Byzantines, requesting that the Aghlabids invade the island.
The Christians on the island were allowed to practice their religion if they paid jizya , a tax for non-Muslims for exemption from military service, but non-Muslims were exempt from the tax that Muslims had to pay zakat.
The Normans attacked Malta in , as part of their conquest of Sicily. 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.
As the islands were much desired due to their strategic importance, it was during this time that the men of Malta were militarised to fend off attempted conquest; early Counts were skilled Genoese privateers.
The kingdom passed on to the dynasty of Hohenstaufen from until During this period, when Frederick II of Hohenstaufen began to reorganise his Sicilian kingdom, Western culture and religion began to exert their influence more intensely.
For a long time it remained solely a fortified garrison. A mass expulsion of Arabs occurred in , and the entire Christian male population of Celano in Abruzzo was deported to Malta in the same year.
For a brief period, the kingdom passed to the Capetian House of Anjou ,  but high taxes made the dynasty unpopular in Malta, due in part to Charles of Anjou 's war against the Republic of Genoa, and the island of Gozo was sacked in Malta was ruled by the House of Barcelona , the ruling dynasty of the Crown of Aragon , from to ,  with the Aragonese aiding the Maltese insurgents in the Sicilian Vespers in a naval battle in Grand Harbour in Relatives of the Kings of Aragon ruled the island until when it formally passed to the Crown of Aragon.
Early on in the Aragonese ascendancy, the sons of the monarchs received the title Count of Malta. During this time much of the local nobility was created.
By , however, the bearing of the comital title reverted to a feudal basis, with two families fighting over the distinction, which caused some conflict.
This led King Martin I of Sicily to abolish the title. The 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.
Instead, he promised never to grant the title to a third party and incorporated it back into the crown. In , the population of the island of Gozo around 5, people were enslaved by Barbary pirates and taken to the Barbary Coast in North Africa.
Speaking of the battle Voltaire said, "Nothing is better known than the siege of Malta. Over the years preceding Napoleon's capture of the islands, the power of the Knights had declined and the Order had become unpopular.
Napoleon's fleet arrived in , en route to his expedition of Egypt. As a ruse towards the Knights, Napoleon asked for a safe harbour to resupply his ships, and then turned his guns against his hosts once safely inside Valletta.
Grand Master Hompesch capitulated, and Napoleon entered Malta. Public education was organised along principles laid down by Bonaparte himself, providing for primary and secondary education.
The French forces left behind became unpopular with the Maltese, due particularly to the French forces' hostility towards Catholicism and pillaging of local churches to fund Napoleon's war efforts.
French financial and religious policies so angered the Maltese that they rebelled, forcing the French to depart. 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.
On 28 October , Captain Sir Alexander Ball successfully completed negotiations with the French garrison on Gozo , the French soldiers there agreeing to surrender without a fight and transferring the island to the British.
Gozo remained independent until Cassar was removed from power by the British in 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, 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 In , 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.
After the Suez Canal opened in , Malta's position halfway between the Strait of Gibraltar and Egypt proved to be its main asset, and it was considered an important stop on the way to India, a central trade route for the British.
Between and , during the First World War , Malta became known as the Nurse of the Mediterranean due to the large number of wounded soldiers who were accommodated in Malta.
Before the Second World War , Valletta was the location of the Royal Navy 's Mediterranean Fleet 's headquarters; however, despite Winston Churchill 's objections,  the command was moved to Alexandria , Egypt , in April out of fear that it was too susceptible to air attacks from Europe.
During the Second World War, Malta played an important role for the Allies ; being a British colony, situated close to Sicily and the Axis shipping lanes, Malta was bombarded by the Italian and German air forces.
Malta was used by the British to launch attacks on the Italian navy and had a submarine base. It was also used as a listening post, intercepting German radio messages including Enigma traffic.
Some historians argue that the award caused Britain to incur disproportionate losses in defending Malta, as British credibility would have suffered if Malta had surrendered, as British forces in Singapore had done.
Under its 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 , the Malta Labour Party led by Dom Mintoff won the general elections, resulting in Malta declaring itself a republic on 13 December Republic Day within the Commonwealth , with the President as head of state.
A defence agreement was signed soon after independence, and after being re-negotiated in , expired on 31 March Malta adopted a policy of neutrality in Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev , their first face-to-face encounter, which signalled the end of the Cold War.
Malta joined the European Union on 1 May Malta is a republic  whose parliamentary system and public administration are closely modelled on the Westminster system.
Malta had the second-highest voter turnout in the world and the highest for nations without mandatory voting , based on election turnout in national lower house elections from to The President of Malta, a largely ceremonial position, is appointed for a five-year term by a resolution of the House of Representatives carried by a simple majority.
Members of the House of Representatives are elected by direct universal suffrage through single transferable vote every five years, unless the House is dissolved earlier by the president either on the advice of the prime minister or through the adoption of a motion of no confidence carried within the House of Representatives and not overturned within three days.
In either of these cases, the president may alternatively choose to invite another Member of Parliament who invariably should command the majority of the House of Representatives to form an alternative government for the remainder of the legislature.
The House of Representatives is nominally made up of 65 members of parliament whereby 5 members of parliament are elected from each of the thirteen electoral districts.
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 80th article of the Constitution of Malta provides that the president appoint as prime minister " Maltese politics is a two-party system dominated by the Labour Party Maltese : Partit Laburista , a centre-left social democratic party, and the Nationalist Party Maltese : Partit Nazzjonalista , a centre-right Christian democratic party.
The Labour Party has been the governing party since and is currently led by Prime Minister Robert Abela , who has been in office since 13 January The Nationalist Party, with Bernard Grech as its leader, is currently in opposition.
Two parliamentary seats are held by independent politicians who were formerly with the Democratic Party Maltese : Partit Demokratiku , a centre-left social liberal party which had contested under the Nationalist-led Forza Nazzjonali electoral alliance in There are a number of small political parties in Malta which have no parliamentary representation.
Malta has had a system of local government since ,  based on the European Charter of Local Self-Government.
The country is divided into five regions one of them being Gozo , with each region having its own Regional Committee, serving as the intermediate level between local government and national government.
The six districts five on Malta and the sixth being Gozo serve primarily statistical purposes. Each council is made up of a number of councillors from 5 to 13, depending on and relative to the population they represent.
A mayor and a deputy mayor are 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.
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 a resident citizens of the EU are eligible to vote.
Due to system reforms, no elections were held before Since then, elections have been held every two years for an alternating half of the councils.
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 the collection of government rents and funds and answer government-related public inquiries.
Additionally, a number of individual towns and villages in the Republic of Malta have sister cities. 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. The AFM also engages in combating terrorism, fighting against illicit drug trafficking, conducting anti-illegal immigrant operations and patrols, and anti-illegal fishing operations, operating search and rescue SAR services, and physical or electronic security and surveillance of sensitive locations.
The islands of the archipelago lie on the Malta plateau, a shallow shelf 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.
Numerous bays along the indented coastline of the islands provide good harbours. The landscape consists of low hills with terraced fields.
Although there are some small rivers at times of high rainfall, there are no permanent rivers or lakes on Malta.
Malta has a Mediterranean climate Köppen climate classification Csa ,   with mild winters and hot summers, hotter in the inland areas.
Rain occurs mainly in autumn and winter, with summer being generally dry. Snow is very rare on the island, although various snowfalls have been recorded in the last century, the last one reported in various locations across Malta in Sunshine duration hours total around 3, per year, from an average 5.
According to Eurostat , Malta is composed of two larger urban zones nominally referred to as "Valletta" the main island of Malta and "Gozo".
The main urban area covers the entire main island, with a population of around , Occasionally in books,  government publications and documents,    and in some international institutions,  Malta is referred to as a city-state.
Sometimes Malta is listed in rankings concerning cities  or metropolitan areas. The Maltese islands are home to a wide diversity of indigenous, sub-endemic and endemic plants.
The most common indigenous trees on the islands are olive Olea europaea , carob Ceratonia siliqua , fig ficus carica , holm oak Quericus ilex and Aleppo pine Pinus halpensis , while the most common non-native trees are eucalyptus , acacia and opuntia.
These trees are of the Bidni variety, which is only found on the islands. Some living trees date back to the 1st century A.
Maltese sand crocus, commonly encountered on the Maltese steppe, which is endemic. Orkida piramidali ta' Malta , Maltese Pyramidal orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis subsp urvilleana is endemic and rare on the islands.
Remnant forest of Ballut Quericus ilex in Wardija. Malta is classified as an advanced economy together with 32 other countries according to the International Monetary Fund IMF.
Once under British control, they came to depend on Malta Dockyard for support of the Royal Navy , especially during the Crimean War of The military base benefited craftsmen and all those who served the military.
In , 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.
However, towards the end of the 19th century, the economy began declining, and by the s Malta's economy was in serious crisis.
One factor was the longer range of newer merchant ships that required fewer refuelling stops. Currently, [ when? Malta produces only about 20 percent of its food needs, has limited fresh water supplies because of the drought in the summer, and has no domestic energy sources, aside from the potential for solar energy from its plentiful sunlight.
The economy is dependent on foreign trade serving as a freight trans-shipment point , manufacturing especially electronics and textiles , and tourism.
Access to biocapacity in Malta is below the world average. In , Malta had 0. Film production has contributed to the Maltese economy.
Malta has served as a "double" for a wide variety of locations and historic periods including Ancient Greece , Ancient and modern Rome , Iraq, the Middle East and many more.
In preparation for Malta's membership in the European Union , which it joined on 1 May , it privatised some state-controlled firms and liberalised markets.
For example, the government announced on 8 January that it was selling its 40 per cent stake in MaltaPost , to complete a privatisation process which had been ongoing for the previous five years.
Malta has a financial regulator, the Malta Financial Services Authority MFSA , with a strong business development mindset, and the country has been successful in attracting gaming businesses, aircraft and ship registration, credit-card issuing banking licences and also fund administration.
Service providers to these industries, including fiduciary and trustee business, are a core part of the growth strategy of the island.
Malta and Tunisia are currently [ when? These discussions are also undergoing between Malta and Libya for similar arrangements.
As of , Malta did not have a property tax. Its property market, especially around the harbour area, was booming, with the prices of apartments in some towns like St Julian's, Sliema and Gzira skyrocketing.
The National Development and Social Fund from the Individual Investor Programme, a citizenship by investment programme also known as the "citizenship scheme", has become a significant income sources for the government of Malta, adding ,, euro to the budget in Regretfully, this 'scheme' has a very low due-diligence and many doubtful Russian, Middle-eastern and Chinese have obtained a Maltese passport In July , the Labour Govt.
As of recently, digital banks such as Revolut have also increased in popularity. FinanceMalta is the quasi-governmental organisation tasked with marketing and educating business leaders in coming to Malta and runs seminars and events around the world highlighting the emerging strength of Malta as a jurisdiction for banking and finance and insurance.
Traffic in Malta drives on the left. Car ownership in Malta is exceedingly high, considering the very small size of the islands; it is the fourth-highest in the European Union.
Buses xarabank or karozza tal-linja are the primary method of public transport, established in Malta's vintage buses operated in the Maltese islands up to and became popular tourist attractions in their own right.
The bus service underwent an extensive reform in July The management structure changed from having self-employed drivers driving their own vehicles to a service being offered by a single company through a public tender in Gozo, being considered as a small network, the service was given through direct order.
It also operated two smaller buses for an intra- Valletta route only and 61 nine-metre buses, which were used to ease congestion on high-density routes.
Overall Arriva Malta operated buses. On 1 January Arriva ceased operations in Malta due to financial difficulties, having been nationalised as Malta Public Transport by the Maltese government, with a new bus operator planned to take over their operations in the near future.
With lower fares than the walk-on rate, it can be topped up online. The card was initially not well received, as reported by several local news sites.
From to Malta had a railway line that connected Valletta to the army barracks at Mtarfa via Mdina and a number of towns and villages.
The railway fell into disuse and eventually closed altogether, following the introduction of electric trams and buses. The ferry makes numerous runs each day.
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 The heliport in Gozo is at Xewkija.
This museum preserves several aircraft, including Hurricane and Spitfire fighters that defended the island in the Second World War.
The owners of Air Malta are the Government of Malta 98 percent and private investors 2 percent. Air Malta employs 1, staff. It has a 25 percent shareholding in Medavia.
It also has a codeshare agreement with Qantas covering three routes. In September , 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 , and provided operational support on another Airbus A aircraft which it leased to Etihad Airways.
Telephone and cellular subscriber numbers have eight digits. There are no area codes in Malta, but after inception, the original first two numbers, and currently [ when?
Fixed line telephone numbers have the prefix 21 and 27, although businesses may have numbers starting 22 or Mobile telephone numbers have the prefix 77, 79, 98 or Malta has produced collectors' coins with face value ranging from 10 to 50 euros.
These coins continue an existing national practice of minting of silver and gold commemorative coins. Unlike normal issues, these coins are not accepted in all the eurozone.
From its introduction in until the introduction of the Euro in , the currency was the Maltese lira , which had replaced the Maltese pound.
The pound replaced the Maltese scudo in Malta is a popular tourist destination, with 1. Tourism infrastructure has increased dramatically over the years and a number of hotels are present on the island, although overdevelopment and the destruction of traditional housing is of growing concern.
An increasing number of Maltese now travel abroad on holiday. In recent years, Malta has advertised itself as a medical tourism destination,  and a number of health tourism providers are developing the industry.
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.
Malta conducts a census of population and housing every ten years. The census held in November counted an estimated 96 percent of the population.
Native Maltese people make up the majority of the island. However, there are minorities, the largest of which are Britons , many of whom are retirees.
The only census year showing a fall in population was that of , with a 1. All censuses since have shown a slight excess of females over males.
The and censuses came closest to recording a balance. The highest female-to-male ratio was reached in but since then the ratio has dropped continuously.
The census showed a female-to-male ratio. The birth rate stood at a decrease of The population's age composition is similar to the age structure prevalent in the EU.
Since there was observed a trend indicating an ageing population, and is expected to continue in the foreseeable future.
Malta's old-age-dependency-ratio rose from Malta's old-age-dependency-ratio is expected to continue rising steadily in the coming years.
Maltese legislation recognises both civil and canonical ecclesiastical marriages. Annulments by the ecclesiastical and civil courts are unrelated and are not necessarily mutually endorsed.
Malta voted in favour of divorce legislation in a referendum held on 28 May A person must be 16 to marry. There is a constant trend that females are more likely than males to marry young.
In there were 51 brides aged between 16 and 19, compared to 8 grooms. In , the population of the Maltese Islands stood at , Males make up The total fertility rate TFR as of [update] was estimated at 1.
The Maltese language Maltese : Malti is one of the two constitutional languages of Malta, having become official, however, only in , and being considered as the national language.
Previously, Sicilian was the official and cultural language of Malta from the 12th century, and the Tuscan dialect of Italian from the 16th century.
Alongside Maltese, English is also an official language of the country and hence the laws of the land are enacted both in Maltese and English.
However, article 74 of the Constitution states that " Maltese is a Semitic language descended from the now extinct Sicilian-Arabic Siculo-Arabic dialect from southern Italy that developed during the Emirate of Sicily.
Maltese is the only Semitic language with official status in the European Union. Maltese has a Semitic base with substantial borrowing from Sicilian , Italian, a little French, and more recently and increasingly, English.
The language includes different dialects that can vary greatly from one town to another or from one island to another. Also, 88 percent of the population speak English, 66 percent speak Italian, and 17 percent speak French.
A study collecting public opinion on what language was "preferred" discovered that 86 percent of the population express a preference for Maltese, 12 percent for English, and 2 percent for Italian.
Maltese Sign Language is used by signers in Malta. Religion in Malta . The predominant religion in Malta is Catholicism. The second article of the Constitution of Malta establishes Catholicism as the state religion and it is also reflected in various elements of Maltese culture , although entrenched provisions for the freedom of religion are made.
There are more than churches in Malta, Gozo, and Comino, or one church for every 1, residents. This civic pride manifests itself in spectacular fashion during the local village festas , which mark the day of the patron saint of each parish with marching bands, religious processions, special Masses , fireworks especially petards and other festivities.
Paul , on his way from Jerusalem to Rome to face trial, was shipwrecked on the island of "Melite", which many Bible scholars identify with Malta, an episode dated around AD Paul spent three months on the island on his way to Rome, curing the sick including the father of Publius, the "chief man of the island".
Various traditions are associated with this account. The shipwreck is said to have occurred in the place today known as St Paul's Bay.
The Maltese saint, 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 among the earliest known places of Christian worship on the island.
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. The latter, in particular, were frescoed between and , although invading Turks defaced many of them in the s.
Luke painted a picture of the Madonna. It has been a place of pilgrimage since the medieval period. The last recorded Bishop of Malta before the invasion of the islands was a Greek named Manas, who was subsequently incarcerated at Palermo.
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.
Since all bishops of Malta have been Maltese. 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 the last Inquisitor departed from the Islands in 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 4, Catholics that now live on that island.
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 Jehovah's Witnesses. There are also some churches of other denominations, including St.
A New Apostolic Church congregation was founded in in Gwardamangia. In , Malta and Sicily came under Aragonese rule and the Alhambra Decree of forced all Jews to leave the country, permitting them to take with them only a few of their belongings.
Several dozen Maltese Jews may have converted to Christianity at the time to remain in the country. Today, there is one Jewish congregation.
A Muslim primary school recently opened. Of the estimated 3, Muslims in Malta , approximately 2, are foreigners, approximately are naturalised citizens, and approximately are native-born Maltese.
In a survey held by the Malta Today , the overwhelming majority of the Maltese population adheres to Christianity According to the same report, 4.
Non-religious people have a higher risk of suffering from discrimination, such as lack of trust by society and unequal treatment by institutions.
In the edition of the annual Freedom of Thought Report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union , Malta was in the category of "severe discrimination".
In , following the abolishment of blasphemy law , Malta was shifted to the category of "systematic discrimination" which is the same category as most EU countries.
Most of the foreign community in Malta, predominantly active or retired British nationals and their dependents, is centred on Sliema and surrounding modern suburbs.
Other smaller foreign groups include Italians, Libyans, and Serbians, many of whom have assimilated into the Maltese nation over the decades.
Malta is also home to a large number of foreign workers who migrated to the island to try and earn a better living.
This migration was driven pre-dominantly at a time where the Maltese economy was steadily booming yet the cost and quality of living on the island remained relatively stable.
In recent years however the local Maltese housing index has doubled  pushing property and rental prices to very high and almost unaffordable levels in the Maltese islands with the slight exception of Gozo.
Salaries in Malta have risen very slowly and very marginally over the years making life on the island much harder than it was a few years ago. As a direct result, a significant level of uncertainty exists among expats in Malta as to whether their financial situation on the island will remain affordable in the years going forth, with many already barely living paycheck to paycheck and others re-locating to other European countries altogether.
Since the late 20th century, Malta has become a transit country for migration routes from Africa towards Europe. As a member of the European Union and of the Schengen Agreement , Malta is bound by the Dublin Regulation to process all claims for asylum by those asylum seekers that enter EU territory for the first time in Malta.
The compulsory detention policy has been denounced by several NGOs, and in July , the European Court of Human Rights found that Malta's detention of migrants was arbitrary, lacking in adequate procedures to challenge detention, and in breach of its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Concerns as to whether the Maltese citizenship scheme is allowing an influx of such individuals into the greater European Union have been raised by both the public as well as the European Council on multiple occasions.
On 8 September , Amnesty International criticized Malta for "illegal tactics" in the Mediterranean, against immigrants who were attempting to cross from North Africa.
The reports claimed that the government's approach might have led to avoidable deaths. 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.
By , for example, British consular estimates suggest that there were 15, Maltese in Tunisia , and in it was claimed that 15, people of Maltese origin were living in Algeria.
Malta experienced significant emigration as a result of the collapse of a construction boom in and after the Second World War, when the birth rate increased significantly, but in the 20th century, most emigrants went to destinations in the New World , particularly to Australia, Canada, and the United States.
Between and , 30 percent of the population emigrated. Emigration dropped dramatically after the mids and has since ceased to be a social phenomenon of significance.
However, since Malta joined the EU in expatriate communities emerged in a number of European countries particularly in Belgium and Luxembourg.
Primary schooling has been compulsory since ; secondary education up to the age of sixteen was made compulsory in Aloysius' College in Birkirkara , St.
As of [update] , state schools are organised into networks known as Colleges and incorporate kindergarten schools, primary and secondary schools.
Martin's College in Swatar and St. Catherine's High School, Pembroke offers an International Foundation Course for students wishing to learn English before entering mainstream education.
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.
Pupils sit for SEC O-level examinations at the age of 16, with passes obligatory in certain subjects such as Mathematics, a minimum of one science subject Physics, Biology or Chemistry , English and Maltese.
Upon obtaining these subjects, Pupils may opt to continue studying at a sixth form college such as Gan Frangisk Abela Junior College , St.
The sixth form course lasts for two years, at the end of which students sit for the matriculation examination.
Subject to their performance, students may then apply for an undergraduate degree or diploma. The adult literacy rate is Maltese and English are both used to teach pupils at the 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 ; this has a limiting effect on the capacity and development of the Maltese language.
Of the total number of pupils studying a first foreign language at secondary level, 51 per cent take Italian whilst 38 per cent take French.
This weather forecast for Malta is uploaded to our website at least three times a day. The utmost importance is given to the weather expected over the next 7 days, together with wind force and direction, maximum and minimum temperatures and the probability of rain and thunder.
The 7-day weather forecast is provided in a number of languages, including English and Maltese. Short and medium-range weather models, upper-air soundings, weather charts, satellite images, weather radar and current weather data are studied carefully so as to produce a reliable weather forecast for Malta.
A lot of importance is given to the wind force and direction expected over the next 3 days at 3-hourly intervals, together with any rainfall expected.