Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The Republic of Malta is composed of islands in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily, Italy. It has an area of 316 square kilometers and a population of 400,000 people (July 2003 estimate). The people of Malta are significantly influenced by their European and North African neighbors. The country's two official languages are Maltese, a Semitic language, and English. Malta was acquired by Great Britain in 1814, but its legal system is based on civil law practice. It became independent in 1964, and a member of the European Union in May 2004. The primary economic basis of the country is tourism. The Maltese Police Force was established ...