total: 316 km²
    land: 316 km²
    water: 0 km²
Area - comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 140 km
Maritime claims:
    contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles (44 km)
    continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    exclusive fishing zone: 25 nautical miles (46 km)
    territorial sea: 12 nautical miles (22 km)
Climate: Mediterranean with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers
Terrain: mostly low, rocky, flat to dissected plains; many coastal cliffs
Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
    highest point: Ta'Dmejrek 253 m (near Dingli)
Natural resources: limestone, salt, arable land
Land use:
    arable land: 38%
    permanent crops: 3%
    permanent pastures: 0%
    forests and woodland: 0%
    other: 59% (1993 est.)<
Irrigated land: 10 km² (1993 est.)

Malta, officially the Republic of Malta, is a small and densely populated island nation consisting of an archipelago of seven islands in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Malta lies directly south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, and the country's official languages are Maltese and English. The strategically located islands constituting the Maltese nation have been ruled by various powers and fought over for centuries. Malta has been a member state of the European Union since May 1, 2004. It is currently the smallest European Union country in both population and area. Malta is the only nation in the world whose flags bear a decoration awarded by a foreign country, the British George Cross.

The local climate is Mediterranean temperate climate with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. There is no real thermal dormant season for plants, although plant growth can be checked briefly by abnormal cold in winter (patches of ground frost may occur in inland locales), and summer heat and aridity may cause vegetation to wilt. Effectively there are only two seasons, which makes the islands attractive for tourists especially during the drier months. Water supply poses a problem on Malta, as the summer is both rainless and also the time of greatest water use, and the winter rainfall often falls as heavy showers and runs off to the sea rather than soaking into the ground.

Contrary to popular belief, the south of Malta is not Europe's most southern point: Malta is Europe's 4th southernmost country (excluding France's départements d'outre-mer and similar); Spain (Punta de Tarifa), Cyprus and Greece (island of Gavdos), rank 3rd, 2nd, and 1st respectively.

The first Great Siege of Malta took place in 1565. The Second Great Siege. took place in 1942. The islands strategic importance and retention played a vital role, being the key to the final Allied victory in North Africa and from there the springboard on into Fortress Europe. The second Great Siege of Malta was truly a pivotal event in the war in Europe and was vital to the Allies eventual victory.

One quote from the distinguished Australian War Correspondent Alan Moorhead shows the trials and tribulations suffered by the island for the Allied cause.

"The greatest of battles for supply fell upon Malta. This was now turned into a hell. Malta was a base for British submarines and aircraft preying on Axis lines of supply to Libya. In the spring of 1942, the Axis decided to obliterate that base and they wanted to starve it as well. Right through the spring they turned such blitz upon Malta as no other island or city had seen in the war. It was a siege of annihilation. One after another all the great sieges were eclipsed - England and Odessa, Sebastopol and Tobruk. Malta became the most bombed place on earth."

Since 1993, Malta has been subdivided into 68 local councils or localities. These form the most basic form of local government. There are no intermediate levels between local government and national government.

Music from the Movie