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You are in:  Nations > Europe > Malta
Malta*Malta flag
Basic facts
The country 
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Capital: Valletta
Area: 316 sq km; 122 sq miles
Population: 383,285 (2000 Estimate)
Urbanisation: Urban 90 per cent (1998 Estimate); Rural 10 per cent (1998 Estimate)


Exports: Machinery and transport equipment, clothing and footwear, chemicals, foodstuffs, beverages, tobacco products

Industry: Tourism, electronics, ship repair, construction, food processing, textiles, footwear, clothing, paper and printing, beverages, tobacco

Agriculture: Principal products: potatoes, cauliflowers, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus fruits, cut flowers, green peppers, pigs, poultry, eggs

Currency: 1 Maltese lira (LM), consisting of 100 cents

Natural resources: Limestone, salt, fish


The people

Ethnic: Maltese 96 per cent, British 2 per cent, Other (including Sicilian, French, Spanish and Italian) 2 per cent

Language: Maltese (official), English (official), Italian. The Maltese speak a language similar in vocabulary to Arabic, although its alphabet and grammatical structure are derived from Latin. Both Maltese and English are official languages. Italian is widely spoken.

Religion: Roman Catholic 93 per cent, other 7 per cent


The history

Independence: 21 September 1964 (from the United Kingdom)

Government: According to the terms of the constitution of 1964, substantially amended in 1974, Malta is a constitutional republic. The head of state is the President, who is appointed by parliament to serve a term of five years. The House of Representatives, composed of 65 members elected to five-year terms by the people, hold legislative authority. The head of Government is a Prime Minister appointed by the President from among the members of parliament and responsible to the legislature. A cabinet assists the Prime Minister.

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