Located south of the Italian island of Sicily between Europe and North Africa, the Republic of Malta gained independence from Britain in 1964, after the Maltese people were awarded the George Cross for defending the crucial military bases there during the Second World War.
With its Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers, Malta is a tourist destination with numerous recreational areas, and architectural and historical monuments. Native Maltese people make up the majority of the island. However, the largest minority group are Britons, many of whom are retirees, having flocked there for its climate. It joined the European Union in 2004 and its economy is classified as ‘advanced’. Maltese and English are its two official languages.