With over 7,000 years of documented history, the island is the prime choice for many expats who are attracted by the corporate taxes and a change in lifestyle for themselves and their families. Discover the Malta facts and characteristics that are likely to encourage you to make the move.

The beautiful Mediterranean island boasts 300 days of sunshine per year in addition to a stable economy. For this reason, more and more students choose to complete their higher studies here.

The island also has easy access to the rest of Europe, particularly to neighbouring countries Italy, Tunisia and Libya, in addition to Africa and the middle east.
Finding accommodation is easy as it is relatively affordable compared with some other parts of Europe.

With the country being rich in historical and archaeological treasures, there is lots to see and do. There are also lots of events on throughout the year, including the local jazz festival every July.

Location

Situated in the middle the Mediterranean Sea and stretching over 316 km², the country consists of seven islands, three of which are inhabited. The island’s capital city is Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the smallest capital city in the European Union. In 2014, it was estimated the archipelago had a population of 445,426.

History

Thought to be settled since 5200BC, the Maltese island boasts some of the world’s oldest freestanding structures. Some of these are even older than Stonehenge, Newgrange and the Pyramids in Giza. Over the next thousands of years, the islands were all claimed at one point by the Phoenicians, Romans and the Greeks. It is evident that the archipelago’s history spans thousands of years and has rich cultural influence.

The predominant religion on the Maltese island is Christianity – which is following the influence of Paul the Apostle after he was shipwrecked in 58AD and preached on the island thereafter.

For over 100 years in the 800s AD the islands were left uninhabited following a battle between the Byzantine and Arabs and by 1048AD, Muslims from Sicily recolonised the country. At this time, they began shaping how we see the landscape today – introducing irrigation through new agriculture. They also introduced the language that still exists today – Maltese.

Thereafter the islands were taken over by the Normans and the Kingdom of Sicily reintroducing a Catholic majority.

The country became part of the Holy Roman Empire under Spanish control. In 1530, the Knights of St. John and subsequently the Knights of Malta settled on the island after being driven out to Rhodes by the Ottoman Empire.

The Knights of St John survive the Great Siege of 1565, whereby deterring the efforts of Ottoman to take the islands as a launching point for invading Southern Europe. To show his appreciation, the Spanish crown gave money to the Knights, who used this to plan and build the new capital city, Valetta.

Over the last 500 years the island has been under British protection, facing constant invasion from German aircraft during the Second World War.

Finally, in 1964, the Maltese people gained independence and over the 10 years following Queen Elizabeth II reigned as the Head of State until 1974. At this point the country professed itself as an independent republic.

More recently, on 1 May 2004, the country became a member of the European Union, and then joined the Eurozone on 1 June 2008, allowing it to adopt the Euro as its official currency, which continues to be used today.

Plants and wildlife

The country’s dry climate means the produce grown is limited on the island, however berries, grapes and olives can commonly be found.
Similarly, the Maltese wildlife is also limited, though you will find the likes of hedgehogs, weasels, bats and lizards, amongst others. In the beautiful waters surrounding the islands you can also find a variety of marine life.

Economy

The bustling islands benefit from various generations and the economy reflects that. It mainly focusses on foreign trade, tourism, manufacturing and financial services. However, with the younger generation relocating to the island, the iGaming industry has taken off. A number of well-known global films have also helped the island’s film production industry strengthen. These have included The Count of Monte Cristo, Troy, Gladiator, World War Z and Captain Philips.

Benefiting from low corporation tax and a productive, multilingual workforce has helped the island’s economy to be known as advanced and exceedingly industrialised.

Far from self-sufficient, the island only produces around 20 per cent of its food needs with agricultural production being relatively low on the island.

Useful information

For those making local telephone calls, there is a need to dial ‘00356’ beforehand. Much to the advantage to expats and tourists, electrical outlets are the same as British ones and use three-prong type G plugs at 240 volts.

Get to know the island with these Malta facts!