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Malta, formally known as the Republic of Malta, is an island republic in the Mediterranean Sea that is regarded to be a part of Southern Europe. It is a member of the European Union and consists of an archipelago. It is located 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Sicily (Italy), 284 kilometres (176 kilometres) east of Tunisia, and 333 kilometres (207 kilometres) north of Libya. Malta is the tenth smallest nation in terms of land size and the fourth most densely populated sovereign country in the world, with a population of around 516,000 people living on an area of 316 km2 (122 sq mi). Valletta, the country's capital, is the smallest national capital in the European Union in terms of land size, at 0.61 km2 (0.24 sq mi). It is official that only two languages are spoken in Malta: Maltese and English, and 66 percent of the contemporary Maltese people can communicate at least conversationally in Italian.

Malta has been inhabited from at least 5900 BC, according to historical records. As a result of its strategic location in the middle of the Mediterranean, it has historically been contested and ruled by a succession of powers, including the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, the Aragonese and the Knights of St. John, as well as the French and the British, to name a few. The majority of these foreign influences have left their imprint on the country's ancient culture in some way or another.

Since its colonisation by the United Kingdom in 1813, Malta has served as a port of call for ships and a headquarters for the British Mediterranean Fleet. During World War II, it was besieged by the Axis forces and served as a vital Allied base for operations in North Africa and the Mediterranean. The Malta Independence Act, approved by the British parliament in 1964, established Malta as a sovereign state apart from the United Kingdom, with Elizabeth II as its monarch. In 1974, the nation was declared a republic. Since its independence, it has been a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations, and it joined the European Union in 2004; it became a member of the eurozone monetary union in 2008. It has been a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations since its independence.

Christians have lived in Malta from the period of Early Christianity, while it was largely Muslim during its time under Arab sovereignty, during which time Christian tolerance prevailed. The Norman conquest of Malta by Roger I in 1091 brought an end to Muslim sovereignty in the country. Although Catholicism is the official state religion in Malta today, the country's Constitution protects the right to freedom of conscience and religious expression.

Malta is a popular tourist destination because of its pleasant climate, numerous recreational areas, and architectural and historical monuments, which include three UNESCO, World Heritage Sites: the Hypogeum of Saflieni, Valletta, as well as seven megalithic temples, which are one of the world's oldest free-standing structures.