The Maltese Archipelago consists of the six islands, steeped in history and rich in culture that find their roots from the prehistoric period, the Bronze Age to the Phoenicians, from the Romans, the Arabs to the Normans.
The main island of Malta which is approximately 93 km from Sicily and 288 km from the North African coastline has a total area of 246 square km, having a distance of 27 km from South to North-West and a distance of 14 km from East to West. The corresponding distances of the second largest island of Gozo are 14 km and 7 km respectively.
Malta enjoys a series of low hills with terraced fields and has natural harbours which have provided shelter for many mariners over the centuries till this very day.
An important historical landmark has been associated with the arrival of the Order of St John of Jerusalem better known as the Knights of Malta whose Grandmasters ruled from 1530 till 1789 when Napoleon took over the Maltese Archipelago. Some two years afterwards, the British liberated the Maltese from the French. Thereafter, Malta experienced both World War I and World War II with devastating consequences however it survived triumphantly, refusing to surrender under the constant bombing of the Luftwaffe and the Regia Aeronautica, leading it to be described as the 'unsinkable aircraft carrier' by Winston Churchill. Indeed, in recognition of her bravery, King George IV awarded Malta and its people the 'George Cross' in April 1942.
On 21st September 1964, Malta gained its independence from Britain, on 13th December, 1974 it became a Republic whilst on 31st March, 1979, it ceased to be a military base with the departure of the last British Servicemen from the islands. Malta became a Member State in the European Union in 2004.
Malta today, with its proximity to Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East, enjoys daily international flights making it one of the easiest destinations to reach in Europe. The island also benefits from excellent telecommunications services and well educated staff versed in financial services law and accounting disciplines, while English, Italian and French are spoken extensively.