History of Malta
Malta stands at the crossroads of Mediterranean thoroughfares, and has long been a dynamic open market location for social, business and multi-cultural exchanges between Europe and North Africa. Its strategic geographic location and excellent harbours have been a major attraction to the world’s maritime powers. As a result, Malta was ruled by a succession of foreign powers, starting with the Phoenicians and ending with the British. Malta managed to interact with diverse cultures, which greatly enriched the islands’ historical, archaeological and cultural heritage. Malta has a 7,000-year history with prehistoric temples older than the pyramids of Egypt and Britain’s Stonehenge. Today, Malta’s relaxed lifestyle, its climate and sea make it a favourite destination for learning, conferences, medical treatment, back-office operations and even a tranquil holiday.
The Maltese economy is increasingly service-based. In the past few years a steady growth was registered in the provision and development of niche financial, ICT and hospitality services. Malta is strengthening its position as a major hub for transhipment, financial services, health services and Information and Communication Technology and pushing to become a leader in the region.
The Maltese use two official languages, Maltese and English. Malta became independent in 1964, a Republic in 1974 and joined the European Union in May 2004. Although predominantly Catholic, the Constitution of Malta guarantees freedom of worship and association.
The Maltese archipelago, situated in the heart of the Mediterranean between Sicily and North Africa, consist of 3 main islands, with Malta being the largest of them all. Valletta, which is the capital city, is built on a peninsula based on a uniform grid. At the lower end of this peninsula, the Old University Building was built by the Knights of St.John. This building has been extensively renovated and today, besides having offices rendering international services, includes modern lecture halls and facilities within its ancient walls.