Malta

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Malta is an island country in the Mediterranean Sea that lies south of the island of Sicily, Italy. The country is an archipelago, with only the three largest islands (Malta, Ghawdex or Gozo, and Kemmuna or Comino) being inhabited. Throughout much of its history, Malta has been considered a crucial strategic location due in large part its position in the Mediterranean Sea. It was held by several ancient cultures including Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Sicilians, and others. The island is commonly associated with the Knights Hospitaller who ruled it. This, along with the historic Biblical shipwreck of St. Paul on the island, ingrained the strong Roman Catholic legacy which is still the official and most practiced religion in Malta today. The country's official languages are Maltese and English, although there are strong historical ties to the Italian language on the islands. Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and is currently a member of the European Union.

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