Malta is an archipelago of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. As the Mediterranean has been the cradle of civilizations, Malta is no exception. It has been successively occupied by the Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Knights of the Order of St. John, French, and English. Each of these peoples has left its mark on these islands, enriching Malta. Malta became a British colony in 1814 and gained independence in 1964. While Mediterranean culture and way of life prevail, the 150 years of English presence are still evident, with the English language being one of its legacies.