I. THE BEAUTY OF MALTA
The flag of Malta is a simple red and white flag with the George Cross in the top left hand corner.
Malta is a beautiful country. Consisting of three islands, Malta is a small country with a population of 401,000 (2007 estimate), the island Malta is quite densely populated. The Maltese culture is reflective of the strong presence of the Catholic Church, with half the year spent celebrating local patron saints with festivals of confetti and candy. Malta's geography also plays an important role in the culture and lifestyle of its people. As typical of the Mediterranean region, the people of Malta are casual and relaxed and they take a lot of pride in their country. Malta is a southern European country and consists of an archipelago. It is situated centrally in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily, Italy. Malta's geographic position between the EU and Africa makes it a target for immigration. The government system is a republic. The chief of state is the President and the head of government is the Prime Minister. Malta is a member of the European Union (EU). Malta it one of the world's smallest states. It is also one of the most densely populated countries worldwide. Malta has a long Christian legacy and is an apostolic see. According to the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible, St. Paul was shipwrecked on "Melite", as the Greeks called the island, and ministered there. Catholicism is the official religion in Malta as declared by the Maltese constitution. Malta’s religious population is fairly homogenous, being 98% Roman Catholic. Education is mandatory from ages 5-16, but 54% of the population continues past age 16. Kindergarten is provided starting at age 3. The female literacy rate, 93.6%, is slightly higher than the male’s 92%, and the total population’s literacy rate is high, at 92.8% (“Malta: Cradle of the Mediterranean”). The Maltese people are descendents of the ancient Carthaginians and Phoenicians with strong elements of Italian and other Mediterranean stock (“Malta’s Background”). The official languages of Malta are both Maltese and English. The Maltese have a truly international attitude characterized by openness, tolerance, friendliness, and a zest for innovation and information” (“The Maltese Islands,” 2003). Malta is internationally renowned as a tourist destination, 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. The country has two official languages, Maltese and English. Italian is also widely spoken in Malta.
The Malta cross has eight points and takes the form of four "V" shaped arms, joining together at the tips. Each arm has two points. The design is said to be based on similar crosses which were used during the First Crusade. This type of cross was also the symbol of Amalfi which was an Italian republic of the 11th century. For this reason, the cross is sometimes also referred to as the Amalfi Cross.
B) PROVIDE BRIEF SOCIO-POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY.
Malta's economy prospered due to its strategic location. Malta's economy prospered and became the focal point of a major trading system. In 1808, two-thirds of the cargo consigned from Malta went to Levant and Egypt. Cargo consisted of largely British and colonial-manufactured goods. Malta's economy became prosperous from this trade and many artisans, such as weavers, found new jobs in the port industry. Malta's economy greatly as there was a massive increase in the shipping which entered in the port. The economy had entered a special phase. The Mediterranean Sea became the "world highway of trade" and a number of ships called at Malta for coal and various supplies on their way to the Indian Ocean and the Far East. Malta produces only about 20% of its...
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