Malta’s history dates back 7000 years and the islands are still influenced by the goings-on of yesteryear. The islands are rich in remains, from Punic tombs to palaces built by the Knights of St John. They have also been coloured by their many rulers, which included the Arabs, Normans, Napoleon and the British.
More recently, Malta was heavily attacked by German and Italian aircraft during World War II but was never invaded by the Axis powers. It became an independent nation on 21 September 1964 and a republic on 13 December 1974, but to date has remained part of the British Commonwealth. In 1979, when its alliance with Great Britain came to an end, Malta sought to guarantee its neutrality through agreements with other countries. Malta joined the EU in 2004, later adopting the Euro in 2008.