The Maltese Islands are a group of small, low islands aligned in a NW-SE direction and located in the central Mediterranean at:
Latitude: 35 °48'28" 36 °05'00" North
Longitude: 14 °11'04" 14 °34'37" East
They are situated on a shallow shelf, the Malta-Ragusa Rise, part of the submarine ridge, which extends from the Ragusa peninsula of Sicily southwards to the African coasts of Tripoli and Libya. Geophysical, the Maltese Islands and the Ragusa peninsula of Sicily are generally regarded as forming part of the African continental plate. The islands lie approximately:
The sea between the islands and Sicily (the Sicilian Channel) reaches a maximum depth of not more than 200 m and is mostly less than 90 m; that between the islands and North Africa (the Malta Channel) is much deeper, in places reaching more than 1,000 m
Its full country name is the Republic of Malta. The total area of Malta is 320square kilometres. The capital of Malta is Valletta which has a total population of about 92 000. The total of Malta is only about 391 700.
Malta's Gross Domestic Product is US$5.3billion; its GDP per Head is US$13,800. Annual growth is 4%. Malta's major industries are Tourism, electronics, ship repair and construction. The major religion in Malta is Roman Catholic with 91% of its population.
Mediterranean culture is dominant in Malta, but nearly 150 years of British rule have left its mark. English is an official language (along with Maltese), and bangers and mash aren't too hard to find. Malta is noted for its fine crafts - particularly its handmade lace, hand-woven fabrics, blown glass and silver filigree. The strongest influence on Maltese cuisine is Sicilian, though the popularity of grilled chops and roast and three veg reveals a strong partiality to all things British. Local specialties include pastizzi (savoury cheese pastries), timpana (a macaroni, cheese and egg pie), and fenek (rabbit), which is usually fried