Malta, the independent State-Island

Malta, island country located in the central Mediterranean Sea. A small but strategically important group of islands, the archipelago has through its long and turbulent history played a vital role in the struggles of a succession of powers for domination of the Mediterranean and in the interplay between emerging Europe and the older cultures of Africa and the Middle East. As a result, Maltese society has been molded by centuries of foreign rule by various powers, including the Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Sicilians, Swabians, Aragonese, French and British.
The country comprises five islands—Malta, the largest, Gozo, Comino, and the uninhabited islets of Kemmunett, also known as Comminotto and Filfla, lying some 93 km south of Sicily, 290 km north of Libya and about 290 km east of Tunisia, at the eastern end of the constricted portion of the Mediterranean Sea separating Italy from the African coast.