Malta is an island country forming an archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Positioned between Sicily and North Africa, the country is the smallest member of the European Union by population, with only half a million people, but also by area, making it the fourth-most densely populated country in the world while being the tenth-smallest. Despite its diminutive size, Malta is an important freight trans-shipment point, financial centre and tourist destination.
Thanks to its strategic position, Malta has been continuously inhabited since prehistoric times, as well as conquered by pretty much all the civilisations with interest in Mediterranean domination, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Sicilians and, most recently, the British. All of them, as well as intensive trading across the region, left both material and cultural heritage on the islands, but the Maltese and their language remains unique in great many ways. With universal knowledge and use of English among the population and a wealth of both man-made structures from all eras of human existence and sites of exceptional natural beauty, Malta has been a very popular holiday destination for decades.
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