Great Britain formally acquired possession of Malta in 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both World Wars and remained in the Commonwealth when it became independent in 1964. A decade later Malta became a republic. Since about the mid-1980s, the island has transformed itself into a freight transhipment point, a financial center, and a tourist destination. Malta became an EU member in May 2004 and began to use the euro as currency in 2008.


Location: Southern Europe, islands in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (Italy)
Geographic coordinates: 35 50 N, 14 35 E
Population: 409,836 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.7% (male 32,829/female 31,198)

15-64 years:  68.5% (male 142,006/female 137,803)

65 years and over: 15.8% (male 28,305/female 36,192) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Malta

conventional short form: Malta

local long form: Repubblika ta’ Malta

local short form: Malta

Government type: republic
Capital: name: Valletta

geographic coordinates: 35 53 N, 14 30 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Telephones – main lines in use: 247,300 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 455,400 (2009)
Airports: 1 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 1

over 3,047 m: 1 (2012)

Roadways: total: 3,096 km

paved: 2,710 km

unpaved: 386 km (2005)

Military branches: Armed Forces of Malta (AFM; includes air and maritime elements) (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2011)


Major resources are limestone, a favourable geographic location, and a productive labour force. Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited fresh water supplies, and has few domestic energy sources. The economy is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing (especially electronics and pharmaceuticals), and tourism. Economic recovery of the European economy has lifted exports, tourism, and overall growth. Malta adopted the euro on 1 January 2008.

Transnational Issues:

Disputes – international: none
Illicit drugs: minor transhipment point for hashish from North Africa to Western Europe