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Malta is an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea consisting of two large, one small islands and a number of islets.

Italy lies 80 km (43 nautical miles) to the north, Tunisia lies 284 km (153 nautical miles) to the west, and Libya lies 333 km (180 nautical miles) to the south.

Coordinates: 35°53'N 14°30'W

History Edit

Evidence indicates a presence of stone age people on the island from about 7,000 years before the time of Hornblower. In ancient times Phoenicians, Greeks, and later, the Romans traded with and at times occupied the islands. After the fall of Rome, it was occupied by the Vandals and later Ostrogoths, then the Byzantine Empire. Next was Moslem rule from 870 until invasion by Normans in 1091. In 1282 Malta came under Spanish rule until 1409 when Spain gave Malta to the Knights Hospitaller.

By 1798 the rule of the Knights became unpopular and Napoleon was asked to oust the Knights. Napoleon did so, and in June arrived and took over Malta. Napoleon established a national administration, abolished the feudal system and slavery, and established a public education system. but after he left for Egypt, the French forces left behind became hostile toward the Catholics and pillaged the local churches to fund Napoleon.

Malta then revolted against the French and applied to the British for protection. After the British set up and maintained a blockade, the French surrendered and Malta became British in 1800.

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