Oh, what’s that? Geography Now t-shirts? Yes, you can get one now at Geographynow.com . Anyway! Oh this place! It’s like the strangest little sovereign island nation with this strangest little language with the strangest little homes on the strangest little landscape! Faroe Islands: “Ah, why thank you.” I said sovereign, you’re constituent. Faroe Islands: “Oh you did not just…” Denmark: “Okay, time to go!” Faroe Islands: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” Anyway this episode is about Malta… It’s time to learn Geography… NOW!!! Hey everybody I’m your host Barbs. The only thing most people from the outside world have heard about this place would probably be the Maltese dog, voted the world’s best therapy dog, and if trained well can become millionaires. Literally. But there’s so much more, I promise you: There’s temples, cliffs ,octopi, strange words and a lot of limestone. If any of you guys from Malta want to send those Twistees things? I do love them. Wow, Keith. That’s quite the Mal-TEASER for this episode, (punches Barby) No, seriously, I do want them. Now, for Malta everything, literally everything is like a step back into time. This entire country is like a living breathing museum. It’s no wonder that movies like Gladiator, Troy, Captain Phillips and TVs Game of Thrones were all shot here. First of all Malta is a small island archipelago nation (the fifth smallest in Europe) located in the Mediterranean Sea just about 50 miles or 80 kilometers south of Sicily, Italy. Made up of many small islands and islets however, The 3 main islands are Malta, where about 90% of the population lives and Gozo next to little Comino which acts as a bird sanctuary and although it has two main hotels and shopping centers, only about 3 residents actually live on the island permanently. The country is divided into five regions which are further divided into 68 local councils with the capital Valletta located on the northeastern side of the main island. However keep in mind, Valletta proper only takes up this small peninsula located in the greater metropolitan bay area. The area also includes the second and third largest cities: Otherwise the largest city on Gozo would be Victoria. The country only has one main airport: Malta International. Otherwise if you’d like to visit Gozo or Comino, You can take a short ferry from the Cirkewwa ferry, which has regular daily service to each one. Speaking of which, Valletta has like over 300 monuments and is crowned by UNESCO as the most concentrated historical area in the world. If you come here, first thing you’ll notice: An abundance of beige and tan buildings and houses. They’re all made of the typical Mediterranean limestone. And the best part: No property tax. But you know, it’s all right off so just you know compartmentalize your assets versus liabilities and manage your capital to accommodate the remaining principal plus interest until you qualify to refinance in a few months and you’ll be fine. Yeah, I just bought a house. Anyway back to Malta. Malta may be small, but oh man, does it have HISTORY! They have megaliths older than the pyramids of Giza. It has places mentioned in ancient texts like Calypso’s cave in Homer’s Odyssey. Paul the Apostle from the Bible was supposedly shipwrecked here. Which is why Malta is considered an Apostolic See, which is kind of like a site of significance founded by an apostle of Jesus. Oh and many of you may or may not have but probably not have heard of the Military Sovereign Order of Malta. This is a weird separate entity from Malta which has relations to Malta. We have too much time to explain in this episode. We will make a whole video related to it later. Stay tuned! There are so many sites and places of interest in Malta however Some of the top and lesser-known ones might include places like: Various forts like these, The Catacombs complexes of Rabat, With various museums like the Folklore, Archaeology and Natural Science Museums, The third largest unsupported dome roof in the world, in Anchor Bay built for The Popeye movie and was just kind of left there and of course any of these various megalithic temples scattered on both Malta and Gozo. And that’s just the man-made stuff. When it comes to nature, Malta has an interesting way of using its limited space. Which brings us to: So just like its buildings, you look at Malta’s land and would think: “How exactly would I describe this?” First of all The country lies in a relatively stable part of the Mediterranean ridge, a part of the larger African plate zone in the Mediterranean. They enjoy a comfortable Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. The islands are generally bumpy with low hills and the highest point: located on the cliffs of the south side of Malta Island and the three small ridges dotting the west side. Otherwise, 5 main natural bays and harbors can be found all over Malta Island, which has made it a historical maritime hub especially with the Grand Harbor in Valletta. Unfortunately the most iconic landmark of the country, the Azure window, a 28 metre tall natural stone arch in Gozo island was destroyed in a storm back in 2017. Yeah a pretty sad story. Okay, this is the part where I typically say triple shot of espresso break and the Noah comes in so I don’t lose my voice by the end of the episode. But Noah’s not here because he’s traveling. So let’s get someone who’s basically like Noah. Our token female, Hannah! Are you sure? I can never replace Noah. I mean won’t your subscribers like judge me? Hannah, it’s the internet. Getting judged means people are paying attention to you and they think you’re worth an opinion. Okay, just read what I wrote for you on the teleprompter and you’ll be fine. Okay. Well, I’m just gonna read what you wrote so if I get any hate, it’s your fault. She learns fast. Malta has no permanent rivers or lakes and most fresh water comes from either desalinization or groundwater pumping. Nonetheless the shores and beaches are beyond beautiful. With places like the Blue Grotto in the main island. There’s also great snorkeling with the coral reefs that can be found in places like: With a high population density, virtually every square inch of the land is used, despite only about 5% of the population working in agriculture. Crops are diverse with items like potatoes, grapes, tomatoes and cauliflower, taking up the majority of produce. The national animal is actually not the Maltese dog but rather the Pharaoh Hound, traditionally used to hunt rabbits, which is one of the most popular meats on the island. Speaking of which: FOOD! The name “Malta” in itself possibly means “honey” from ancient Greek and today they take cuisine very seriously. You’ll get a lot of pasta and meat. However, some national dishes and drinks might include things like: Maltese Ice cream, As mentioned, They love cooking different types of Fenek or “rabbit” Fish like: are popular. and the national dish: Pastizzi. And Twistees. Send me some. Otherwise, yeah. Malta’s economy is mostly built off of the service sector with a huge emphasis on tourism which is easy for the multilingual populace. Now, let’s talk about the Maltese people. Shall we? Thank you Hannah, follow her on Instagram. We’ve talked about how the buildings are confusing. The landscape is confusing. But now we reach the biggest anomaly: the Maltese people. Who and what exactly are they? Well. First of all, The country has just about 450,000 people and is one of the most densely packed European nations. The majority of the country is made up of ethnic Maltese that number about 95% and the rest are non Maltese people mostly British and Italian. They use the Euro as their currency. They use a type G British style plug outlet and they drive on the left side of the road. Yeah, left side and type G. That gives you a little hint on their backstory. Now let’s talk about what it means to be Maltese. First of all, the language. In the simplest way I can condense it: Maltese is a fusion language. It is the only semitic language recognized by the EU and it is the only Semitic language written in a Latin alphabet. They have a bunch of weird dotted letters and a strange H with a slash through it. (Ħħ) It follows the same structure and overall grammar of Arabic and about one-third of its vocabulary comes from Arabic. About half of the words are Italian or Sicilian Italian based and the rest are mostly English and French derive. It’s a really interesting language if you’ve never heard of it, Maltese Geograpeeps, Bradley and Giulia sent me this: Did you notice that? In the beginning, They said: ” “, that’s like a mix of French and Arabic,
but then at the end they say: ” “, which is Italian. And all that is like normal for them. Now why is the language structures like this? Well, basically after the Byzantine Empire, You’re gonna speak Arabic. Nope, you’re gonna speak Italian. Nope. Now Napoleon wants you to speak French. Nope. We’re gonna teach you some English now. How about you introduce yourself? (Gibberish English) Basically after Malta became a Christian nation, a bunch of people were still speaking Arabic, but they were cut off from the predominantly Muslim Arab world. So the dialect was free to kind of drift off and become its own thing. Centuries later, Maltese was born. Today the country’s two official languages are Maltese and English (no shocker). They were once a British territory for 150 years. The vast majority of citizens are bilingual or even trilingual with Italian. They love watching Italian TV shows, But otherwise, culture. It’s basically a Latin European based country with a splash of Arab and Semitic roots with a strong Anglo influenced undertone. Its Maltese. They have the second most national holidays in the EU at 14 just behind Cyprus with 17. Every village celebrates a week of festivities called II-Festa. Some big ones in the summer include these. Catholicism plays a huge role in culture as over 90% claim to fall under the religion. However, they are very open to embracing contemporary values as well. Crime levels are incredibly low. LGBT rights are respected. They are known for making traditional Maltese lace. It is used for everything like pillows and tablecloths and gloves. They also make a lot of filigree jewelry, which utilizes meticulously woven gold or silver wires Oh this symbol is called the Maltese Cross You might see it a lot in Malta because… it’s the Maltese Cross. It’s their’s. Bocci ball and water polo and horse-racing are popular sports. Yeah, stuff like that. Okay history time! We don’t have a lot of time to explain everything but in the quickest way I can condense it: Prehistoric era, Copper Age, Bronze Age, Phoenician and Carthaginian era, Romans, Christianity, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Middle Ages, Knights of St John, Turks, Valletta is built, The French come in for like two years, The British come in, 1964 Independence, 1974 Republic, 1979 Freedom Day, 2004, They joined the EU, 2008 the Eurozone. And here we are today. Some famous people from Malta or off Maltese descent might include people like: Joseph Calleja, Ira Losco, Andre Schembri, Tony Pulis, Sharlene Spiteri, Dom Mintoff, Ella Eyre, a lot of you suggested I mentioned this YouTuber guy. And apparently I was told Megan Markle’s Great-great-grandmother was born in Malta as well as Britney Spears’ Great-great-great-grandfather in 1873. So 2 Maltese people, is still kind of counts. Yeah, when your country has less than half a million people, every little piece counts. Including the last segment of this episode. In WWI, Malta was nicknamed “The hospital of the Mediterranean” as many soldiers were sent there. To this day, they’ve always kind of had a nice neutral place on the diplomatic spectrum. For one Tunisia and Libya have been their best friends in Northern Africa. Both countries are probably the only Arab speaking countries that can kind of understand the Maltese language. All of them have had a lot of exposure to the Italian language and many can pick up easily. Also, they’d like to travel to each other’s countries and do business. Australia has been a close friend for a long time as they have the largest Maltese community outside of Malta. During war years, many fled to the country which of course was also a British colony at the time. And today, many of those that remained have relatives in Australia that they’d like to visit regularly. When it comes to the best friends however most Maltese people I have talked to have said probably the UK and Italy. These two countries have played the biggest role in outside influence on Malta. It’s funny, though because for a long time, many people were fighting to make Italian an official language but after English one, it kind of created the division of political parties. Also whenever they watch soccer/football matches, They’re kind of torn between which nation to root for. And if one loses, they can kind of bandwagon off of the other. Either way, they love both. In conclusion: You look at Malta and think “hmmm… Catholic, Arabic, Italian-ish speaking people that drive on the left side of the road.” How would I even label that? Well, you would label it as: Malta. AND SEND ME TWISTEES!! Stay tuned, the Marshall Islands is coming up next!