Its capital is Vallettawhich is the smallest national capital in the European Union by area at 0. The official and national language is Maltesewhich is descended from Sicilian Arabic that developed during the Emirate of Sicilywhile English serves as the second official language. Malta has been inhabited since approximately BC. Its location in the centre of the Mediterranean  has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, with a succession of powers having contested and ruled the islands, including the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of St.
The Maltese Islands went through a golden Neolithic periodthe remains of which include the mysterious temples dedicated to the goddess of fertility. In 60 A. Paul was shipwrecked on the island while on his way to Rome and brought Christianity to Malta.
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