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Alta lies in the Mediterranean, latitude 35° 8' N., longitude 14° 5' E.,

58 miles south of Sicily and approximately 180 miles east of Tunisia.

The Maltese archipelago consists of the islands of Malta (94:4 square miles), Gozo (25.9 square miles) and Comino (1•1 square miles) together with four uninhabited islets, Cominotto, St. Paul's Islands and Filfla. The name Malta is derived from the Roman name for the island, Melita.

The highest point in Malta is just over 800 feet above sea level. The islands enjoy an average winter temperature of 55°F while in summer the average is 80°F. The mean annual rainfall is 20 inches, falling mainly between October and March. The soil, which contains much lime, is shallow except in low-lying places. There are 34,429 acres of arable land, the main crops being potatoes, onions, tomatoes, grapes, wheat, barley and oranges.

The total population of the Maltese Islands at the end of 1969 was estimated to be 322,353 of which about 40 per cent live in the nine main towns. Valletta, the capital, has a population of 15,547 while Sliema is the largest town with a population of 21,983. Other towns are Qormi (15,761), Hamrun (14,910), Paola (12,197), Birkirkara (17,767), and Rabat (12,399). The capital of Gozo is Victoria (5,498). Emigration between 1946 and 1969 totalled 121,631 and was mainly directed to Australia, followed by the U.K. and Canada.

The population is mainly European, speaking the Maltese and English languages, and 90-95 per cent of the people are Roman Catholic. The birth and death rates in 1969 were 15.8 and 9.4 per thousand respectively.

Primary education is free and compulsory. There are two Government Grammar Schools for boys and four for girls; three Government Secondary Technical Schools for boys and one for girls. There are two Technical Institutes and a third is in an advanced state of construction. Secondary education in Government Schools is free and students are selected by examination. There are also two Government Industrial Training Centres. In addition to the Government Schools there are 74 fee paying private colleges, schools and convents of which 25 are Secondary Schools. In October 1970 30 new Government Secondary Schools will be opened and these will ensure that all boys and girls receive a free secondary education according to their ability and aptitude.

Two Colleges of Education train male and female students for the Primary Schools. The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology prepares students who have completed their secondary education for a variety of examinations. The faculties of Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering are also situated in the above college. Degrees are conferred by the Royal University of Malta.

Grand Harbour with a net tonnage of 5.5 million in 1969 and Marsamxett Harbour are the main ports. Anchorage exposed to the south-east is provided at Marsaxlokk and anchorage exposed to the north-east is provided at St Paul's and Mellieha Bays. The airport at Luqa (runway, 7,800 feet), 5 miles from Valletta, is used by both civil and military aircraft. The principal airlines are British European Airways, Malta Airlines, Alitalia and Libyan Arab Airlines. Scheduled services are operated between Malta and U.K., Italy and Libya. There are no railways, and there are 710 miles of surfaced road. Broadcasting facilities are provided on behalf of the Broadcasting Authority by Rediffusion (Malta) Ltd., and by the Malta Television Services Ltd.—which, under the overall supervision of the Authority, are responsible for the provision of most of the programmes. The Authority itself produces and prescribes programmes on Sound and Television.

The Malta Development Corporation was constituted by virtue of Act No. XVII of 1967. The Board of the Corporation was appointed as from 1st January 1968. The Corporation took over the responsibility of executing the Aids to Industries Scheme by virtue of an Agency Agreement signed between the Malta Government and the Malta Development Corporation on the 27th April 1968. The Corporation is also a development bank and has received from Government an equity capital of £1 million for the purpose.

By the end of December 1969, 314 applications from 211 firms were approved since the inception of the Aids to Industries Scheme; 114 firms are in operation and have created some 8,800 new jobs. The commitment by way of grants and loans in respect of approved projects up to 31st December 1969 amounted to £4.8 million and £2.0 million respectively. The turnover value was £14.9 million of which £10.9 million were export sales.

There is factory building programme in operation. The industries cover a wide range of products such as poultry products, manufacture of margarine, wine, yarns, fabric and made-up textile articles, (including stockings, tights, jeans etc.), footwear, mattresses, furniture, cardboard containers, type-setting and printing of books, gloves and mittens and leather goods, synthetic rubber seals, detergents, paints, plastic goods, tiles, specialised production tools, iron and steel rods, electro-plating, electrical heating elements, electronic components, light engineering products, assembly of vehicles, jewellery, toys, wigs, musical instruments, Christmas decorations, and matches.

Tourism is assuming primary importance, and a number of new hotels have been built to cater for the ever-growing number of tourists. There are now more than 7,606 tourist beds in Malta, Gozo and Comino. By the end of 1970 it is hoped that there will be about 110 hotels providing accommodation for 8,673 visitors. Stern to quay berthing facilities for about 350 yachts are provided at Marsamxett Harbour which lies to the West of Valletta. This is only part of the general plan to develop the whole of this harbour into a yachting centre.

The Maltese Islands are supplied with electrical power by two thermal Power Stations having capacities of 30 MW and 55 MW respectively.

A peak power demand of 59.2 MW was recorded during February 1970. The first 30 MW Turbo-Alternator and associated Boiler, which formed part of the Stage II extension programme, were commissioned in March 1970. The erection of the second 30 MW Turbo-Alternator, Boiler and ancillary equipment is in the final stages of completion. Pre-commissioning trials are expected to commence early in June. The commissioning of the second 30 MW Turbo-Alternator will bring the total generating capacity to 115 MW.

All areas in the Maltese Islands are served with electricity supply. A primary transmission system operating at 33,000 volts was recently put in service.

The electricity distribution network is capable of supplying efficiently the electric power requirement throughout the country. However, works on the reinforcement of the system are regularly carried out to maintain this capability.

Today, the Maltese Islands can boast of one of the largest desalination plants in the Mediterranean Basin. To supplement water supplies obtained from natural resources, which owing to the increase in water consumption is approaching saturation, the Government had to resort to the installation of flash distillation plants. Four distillers, capable of producing 4.5 million gallons of fresh water per day, are now in operation.

Malta's National Day is 21st September, the anniversary of Independence.

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There are notable stone-age survivals in Malta, but its history begins with settlement by the Phoenicians. After Phoenicia was conquered by the Persians, Carthage became the capital of the Punic Empire, and from Carthage Malta was colonised and received the earliest known form of its language. Malta remained under Carthaginian control until Hamilcar's surrender to the Roman Consul, Titus Sempronius, in 216 B.C.

The best known event during Malta's occupation by the Romans was St Paul's shipwreck in the bay which now bears his name, and the conversion of the Maltese to Christianity. After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Malta remained within the jurisdiction of the Byzantine Emperors in Constantinople until it was taken by the Arabs in 870. The Arabic occupation, which lasted for two centuries, served to introduce into the Maltese language a vocabulary of contemporary Arabic words which did not, however, destroy the earlier related Punic words. This produced a blend which still forms the core of modern Maltese and into this framework fresh words, mostly English or Italian, have been fitted.

After the expulsion of the Arabs by Roger the Norman, Malta remained in the hands of successive Sicilian rulers until it passed to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who, in 1530, gave it as a sovereign fief to the Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, which had been homeless since its eviction by the Turks from Rhodes in 1523. The gift was conditional on the Knights of the Order assuming the defence of Tripoli as a Christian outpost in North Africa. Tripoli was lost to the Turks in 1551, but when the Turks tried to capture Malta itself they were eventually repelled in 1565, after the Great Siege. Soon after this victory, the Knights set about building Valletta within an impressive system of fortifications. At first Malta flourished as a bastion of Christendom and developed as a centre of trade and communications; but its importance declined after the Ottoman sea-power was broken at the battle of Lepanto in 1571. Thenceforth the Knights turned their activities to politics, and by the eighteenth century the Order had declined and become an anachronism, dependent on the support of other countries rather than on its own resources.

Napoleon Bonaparte regarded Malta as a vital link in a route to the East and in his designs on Egypt and India. The French met with no resistance when they landed at Valletta in June 1798 and Bonaparte departed for Egypt leaving a force of 6,000 troops on the island. The Maltese, however, soon rose against the French, offended by their pillaging of churches and encouraged by the defeat of Bonaparte at the Nile. In response to an appeal from the Maltese people for help Admiral Nelson set up a blockade and on 9th September 1798 sent Captain Ball RN, to assume responsibility for the administration of the island. The French were driven into the fortified towns where they remained until they capitulated in 1800 whereupon they were evicted from the island. In May 1801 the administration of Malta was divided between the British Military Commander and a British Civil Commission. In 1802 the Treaty of Amiens provided for the Maltese administration to revert to the Knights of St John but the Maltese people petitioned Britain to place the island under British sovereignty and protection. The first British Governor was appointed in July 1813 and Malta formally became British by the Treaty of Paris in 1814.

Recognising Malta's strategic importance, Britain introduced a garrison which not only protected the islands but provided a source of income for their inhabitants. British trade with the Near East and the Adriatic began to pass through Malta, which was made free port; and by 1812 there were some 60 British and 20 Maltese middlemen in business there. The port services required by ships engaged in this trade provided additional employment and with increasing prosperity agriculture was also stimulated.

Thenceforth Malta depended on shipping, military and civil. In 1827 the British Mediterranean Fleet was based on Malta and in 1832 the Admiralty started a packet service to the island. A few years later the ships of the P and O Shipping Company and other Companies began to use Malta as a port of call on their runs to Egypt and the Levant. The volume of shipping greatly increased with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869: by 1882 some 80 per cent of the recorded tonnage there had cargoes for other than M terranean ports.

The boom in shipping caused a movement to the towns, and in the decade 1871-80 urban employment increased by 6,000, mainly in the docks. However, as larger merchant ships were introduced, the boom declined, for their longer range made it less necessary for them to call at Malta. But British Government expenditure bridged the gap, and by 1905 over 9,000 men were employed in her Naval Establishments in Malta. The Naval Dockyard and the income from the Defence services became the mainstay of Malta's economy.

Malta was an important base in the First World War; and in the Second World War the heroic garrison and the indomitable people of Malta were exposed to frequent and heavy air attacks and to an intense blockade. In recognition of their courageous resistance and of the exceptional hardships and privations which they endured, Malta was awarded the George Cross in 1942. A representation of this decoration appears in the National Flag of independent Malta.

The long-term changes in British defence policy announced in 1958, necessitated a major change in the traditional pattern of the Maltese economy which had previously depended on Service expenditure. In particular, in view of the decline in the use of Malta for Naval repair work which would take place after 1960, the British Government decided that the Naval Dockyard should be converted to commercial use.

The Dockyard was accordingly leased to Messrs Bailey, a firm of dry docks operators established in Britain, and financial assistance was provided to enable the transition to commercial operation to take place. In 1963 Messrs Bailey were deprived of control over the running of the Dockyard and a Council of Administration was appointed to keep things going pending the outcome of court proceedings instituted by and against Messrs Bailey. The Council of Administration were assisted by Messrs Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson as Managing Agents. In April 1968 legislation was enacted by the Maltese Parliament under which the Dockyard was nationalised and control over the assets of the Yard was vested in new Drydocks Corporation. The Drydocks Corporation has made arrangements for Messrs Swan Hunter to continue to assist them as Managing Agents of the dry docks.

The Maltese nation is almost wholly Roman Catholic. The Archbishop of Malta has always been recognised and treated as the spiritual head of the nation. Roman Catholic Canon law is the law of the land in such matters as marriage, and there is no civil marriage or divorce.



During the period that Malta was a Crown Colony, the usual Advisory Councils to the Governor had contained a number of Maltese Members. In 1921 a constitution was introduced which established a limited form of self-government. A dyarchical system of Government was set up in which the Maltese Government, composed of a bi-cameral legislature and Ministry, was responsible for local affairs while the Maltese Imperial Government, composed of the Governor advised by a nominated Council, had full control of reserved matters including, in particular, defence, foreign affairs and language questions. In the Maltese Government, ten of the seventeen Senators were nominated or elected to represent special classes, and the others were returned by the general electorate. Members of the Legislative Assembly were elected by proportional representation, each voter having a single, transferable vote. However in 1930 the constitution was suspended, and again in 1933, owing to political crises, and was finally revoked in 1936. Crown Colony rule was resumed in 1939. Self-government was restored in 1947.

The constitution of 1947 provided for a uni-cameral legislature of 40 Members, elected under a system of proportional representation, with a Prime Minister and a Cabinet. The Assembly was empowered to legislate for the peace, order and good government of Malta, but certain matters, including defence, civil aviation, currency, immigration and nationality, were reserved to the Maltese Imperial Government under the Governor.

Elections under the new constitution gave Malta its first Labour Government. The election of 1950 returned a Nationalist Coalition Government which, in 1953, put forward proposals for Dominion status for Malta. Because of Malta's strategic importance and inability to be financially self-supporting, these proposals were unacceptable to the British Government, which suggested that Malta's status might be improved if responsibility for the islands were transferred to the Home Office. In 1955 a Labour Ministry was formed by Mr Dominic Mintoff and arrangements were made for a Round Table Conference in December of that year. Representatives of all the Maltese political parties and the Archbishop of Malta attended the Conference, and all accepted that the British Government needed to retain ultimate responsibility for Defence and foreign affairs. All wished to enhance the status of the Maltese Parliament and Government, and agreed that the position of the Roman Catholic Church should not be diminished; but the Maltese Government and Opposition were unable to agree on what should be Malta's ultimate constitutional status. The Labour Party wanted representation at Westminster, whereas the Nationalists wanted independence within the Commonwealth.

In a referendum held in February 1956, 76 per cent of the votes cast (44 per cent of the electorate) favoured integration with Britain and Maltese representation at Westminster. This was accepted in principle by the British Government but the consequent negotiation as to details broke down in March 1958, both the governing Malta Labour Party and the Opposition demanding independence. The Labour Party resigned; and the Opposition party, the Nationalists, led by Dr Borg Olivier, refused to form a caretaker Government. Shortly afterwards, disturbances took place, and the Government was compelled to institute direct

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