The largest of the world’s smallest countries, the Mediterranean archipelago of Malta sizes up to an area of only 122 square miles or about 316 square kilometers. Over the course of its lengthy history, Malta has been inhabited by Stone Age farmers and hunters from Sicily, the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, French, and, finally, the British before finally earning its independence in 1964. During World War II, Malta’s proximity to Sicily and Axis ports made it an ideal launching point for British attacks on the Italian Navy. After the war ended, Maltese Prime Minister George Borg Olivier entered into negotiations with the United Kingdom to achieve its independence. On May 1st, 2004, 14 years after the original application was submitted by foreign minister Guido de Marco, Malta was accepted into the European Union.