What languages are spoken in spoken in Malta?


  • Malta is one of the most multi-lingual countries in the European Union (EU). The national language of Malta is Maltese, but English is also an official language of the country and is widely spoken.  Italian is also widely spoken by the Maltese.
  • The Maltese language (‘Malti’) is of Semitic origin, and is one of the only Sematic languages written in Latin script. Over the centuries, the language has incorporated many words derived from English, Italian and French.
  • For non-native speakers trying to learn Malti, the most awkward sound is that similar to the Arabic ‘q’ - an almost silent, but difficult to master, glottal stop.

EUROPA 2016.

Visitmalta 2016.


What is the religious landscape of Malta?

  • Malta is historically Christian and remains one of the most Catholic countries in the world.  The Constitution of Malta establishes Catholicism as the state religion, but it also allows for religious freedom. 
  • In a 2005 Eurobarometer survey, 95% of the Maltese respondents stated that they believe in a God; this was the highest national percentage of the European Union (EU-28).  In 2008, over half (53%) of the Maltese regularly attended Sunday services (Bettetini, 2008).
  • There are 365 Catholic churches across the Maltese Islands.  The Parish Church is the architectural and geographic focal point of every Maltese town and village.
  • A number of other Christian religions are practiced in Malta, as well as Islam, Judaism, the Bahai faith, and others.

Special Eurobarometer - Social values, Science and Technology, 2005. Retrieved June 6, 2016, from

BETTETINI 2008. Retrieved June 6, 2016, from

Visitmalta 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2016, from


What public holidays do the Maltese celebrate?

  • There are 14 Public Holidays.  These take the form of five national holidays, marking historical events in Malta, seven religious holidays, and two other holidays marking days which are generally holidays internationally. 


National Holidays

31st March

Freedom Day

7th June

Setto Giugno

8th September

Feast of Our Lady of Victories

21st September

Independence Day

13th December

Republic Day

Government of Malta 2016

Religious Holidays

10th February

Feast of St Paul’s Shipwreck

19th March

Feast of St Joseph

date changes annually

Good Friday

29th June

Feast of St Peter and St Paul

15th August

Feast of the Assumption

8th December

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

25th December

Christmas Day

Government of Malta 2016

Other Holidays

1st January

New Year’s Day

1st May

Workers Day

Government of Malta 2016

Sources : Government of Malta. Retrieved 6 June 2016, from


What were Malta's predominant historical influences?


  • Malta’s central position in the Mediterranean Sea has greatly influenced the history of the Islands.  Over the centuries, the Maltese Islands have been ruled and occupied by the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Arabs, the Normans, the Knights of St John, the French, and, most recently, the British.  The ethnography of the Maltese, as well as the Maltese culture, language and cuisine, are all characterised by these historical influences.  


Key dates in Maltese history:


  • c4500 BC: the Maltese Islands are first inhabited, by Neolithic peoples from nearby Sicily.  The oldest existing megalithic structures in the World, including Hagar Qim, Mnajdra and the Tarxien Temples were constructed during the Neolithic period (pre-dating the Egyptian Pyramids by approximately 1000 years).
  • c1200 BC: the Phoenicians occupy Malta.  The name 'Malta' is said to be derived from the Phoenician word 'Maleth', meaning refuge, and the roots of the Maltese language are said to derive from the Phoenician period.
  • c218 BC: Malta is occupied by the Roman Empire (during the second Punic War)
  • 58 AD: Christianity comes to Malta, when St Paul is shipwrecked (on the island of Malta).  St Paul introduced Christianity to the Maltese during his three month stay.
  • 535 AD: Malta becomes part of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire.
  • c800 AD: the Arabs arrive in Malta.  The Maltese language is the chief legacy of the Arab occupation; modern Maltese has many elements of Arabic.
  • 1090: the Normans invade Malta.  The Norman Count Roger is said to have given the Maltese Flag its red and white colours and to have re-Christianised the Maltese after the Arab occupation.
  • 1522: the Order of St. John Knights Hospitallier comes to Malta (after having been expelled from Rhodes), and Malta becomes the focus of Ottoman attacks in the western expansion of the Ottoman Empire.
  • 1565 AD: a Turkish armada besieges Malta.  ‘The Great Siege of Malta’ lasted four months, with the Knights emerging victorious.  The Great Siege prompted the Knights to build the fortified city of Valletta.  In the two centuries of the Knights Period that followed, Valletta became a flourishing centre for trade and learning.
  • 1798 AD: Napoleon invades Malta and expels the Knights.  French rule lasted only two years however.  The Maltese rebelled and ousted the French in 1800, after asking the British for help.   
  • 1815 AD: the Maltese ask the British to stay on the Islands and the occupation of Malta by the British is legalised. 
  • 1921 AD: Malta achieves responsible government, and all internal domestic affairs are to be in the hands of the Maltese with Britain retaining responsibility for foreign affairs and defence.
  • 1939 AD: the Second World War sees Malta’s strategic position in the Mediterranean exploited by the British as a basis for Mediterranean and North African operations.  The Maltese Islands were extensively bombed by the Axis over a two and a half year period, which led to the recognition of Maltese ‘bravery, heroism and the sacrifice of its people’ when King George VI awarded the Maltese people the George Cross Medal.
  • 1964 AD: Malta begins its path of independence from the British, eventually becoming a Republic in 1974.  The last of British troops left Malta (and the British Union Jack was finally lowered) on 31th March 1979 (Freedom Day).

Edward, Malta Uncovered, 2016. Retrieved June 17, 2016, from Retrieved June 17, 2016, from Retrieved June 17, 2016, from


What was Malta's role in World War 2?

  • The strategic location of the Maltese Islands in the Mediterranean propelled Malta centre stage in the war in the Mediterranean and North Africa.  During the Second World War, Malta became a base of the British Mediterranean Naval Fleet and for the Allied attacks on Italian air and naval bases and on enemy ships plying the supply routes to North Africa.  Winston Churchill proclaimed that "Malta was vital to reducing the effectiveness of the enemy's North African push" (Visitmalta 2016).


  • Between 1940 – 1942, the Axis resolved to bomb and starve Malta into submission, by attacking its ports, towns, cities, and the Allied shipping supplying the Islands.  Malta was bombed by the Italians the day after war was declared, and was one of the most intensively bombed areas during the Second World War.  The German and Italian Air Forces flew a total of 3,000 bombing raids over a period of two years in an effort to destroy British defences and the ports. However, Allied convoys were able to supply and reinforce Malta, whilst also defending its airspace, but to great cost of civilian and military lives.


  • At the end of 1942, the Axis diverted their forces to the Battle of Tunisia and attacks on Malta were substantially reduced, and ‘the siege’ effectively ended. Allied air and sea forces operating from Malta then went over to the offensive; by May 1943, the Allies they had sunk 230 Axis ships in 164 days, the highest Allied sinking rate of the war.   


  • On 15th April 1942, King George VI awarded Malta the George Cross, the highest civilian medal, "To honour her brave people” and “to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history". This Cross features on the Maltese flag.

Visitmalta 2016. Retrieved June 17, 2016, from

Malta at War Museum, 2016. Retrieved June 17, 2016, from Retrieved June 17, 2016, from

How happy are the Maltese?

  • The Maltese are a happy nation.  Quality of life satisfaction in Malta has been higher than the European average for a number of years.  In a Spring 2015 Eurobarometer Survey (Eurobarometer 83), 89% of Maltese replied that they enjoy a good quality of life and Malta ranked 7th in the European Union (EU-28), where the EU-28 average was 60%. Denmark and the Netherlands scored 94% and 92%, respectively.


  • In a global happiness survey in 2010 – 2012 (UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, 2013), Malta ranked 48th in the list of 156 countries.  The survey defined happiness based on life expectancy, perceptions of corruption, GDP per capita, freedom to make life choices, social support, and generosity.  Social support, GDP and life expectancy are key factors which boost national happiness in Malta.



United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. World Happiness Report 2013.  Retrieved June 19, 2016, from

Standard Eurobarometer 83, Spring 2015.  Public Opinion in the European Union: May 2015. Retrieved June 19, 2016, from