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The long-ruling Knights of Malta recruited their members from noble families throughout Europe while denying the Maltese entry into their ranks.

As this order was able to maintain itself in Malta largely by keeping the nation on a continuous war footing, it was anachronistic at a time when Europeans in countries such as England and France were being introduced to the Industrial Revolution.

In part, this is because the emigration rate has been declining.

Singapore is the only country more densely populated than Malta. Maltese is the only European language in the Afro-Asiatic family, which includes Arabic, Hebrew, Berber, and Hausa.

Although its closest relationships are with the forms of Arabic spoken in Libya and Tunisia, its vocabulary has been strongly influenced by Sicilian.

Written with a twenty-nine-letter alphabet, Maltese is universally understood by citizens and has only minimal dialectical variations.

The Grand Harbor of Malta is dominated by Valletta, the national capital, whose construction was begun by the Knights of Saint John in 1566, a year after the defeat of the Great Siege by Ottoman Turkey. Live births in that year were 4,826 for a birth rate of 13.1 per thousand.

The fact that the estimated national population as of July 1999 was 381,603 indicates that it is continuing to grow.

Educated Maltese often speak English, and many understand Italian. Saint Paul is a powerful national symbol, as he is credited with converting the Maltese to Christianity.