Maltese History

Maltese History

A Glimpse of History
 
The history of Malta is a long and colourful one dating back five thousand years before the Birth of Christ, back at the very dawn of civilization.
 
The Maltese Islands went through a golden Neolithic period, the remains of which are the mysterious temples dedicated to the goddess of fertility. Later on, the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans and the Byzantines, all left their traces on the Islands.
 
The Maltese were among the very fist Christian communities. Just 30 years after the Birth of Christ, in 60 A.D. St. Paul  was shipwrecked on the island while on his way to Rome and brought Christianity to Malta.
 
The Arabs conquered the islands in 870 A.D. and left an important mark on the language of the Maltese. Until 1530 Malta was an extension of Sicily.  The Normans, the Aragonese and other conquerors who ruled over Sicily also governed the Maltese Islands. It was Charles V who bequeathed Malta to the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem who ruled over Malta from 1530 to 1798. The Knights took Malta through a new golden age, making it a key player in the cultural scene of 17th and 18th century Europe. The artistic and cultural lives of the Maltese Islands were injected with the presence of artists such as Caravaggio, Mattia Preti and Favray who were commissioned by the Knights to embellish churches, palaces and auberges.
 
In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte took over Malta from the Knights on his way to Egypt. The French presence on the islands was short lived, as the English, who were requested by the Maltese to help them against the French, blockaded the islands in 1800.

British rule in Malta lasted until 1964 when Malta became independent. The Maltese adapted the British system of administration, education and legislation.

In 1974 Malta became a Republic and in May of 2004, together with Poland Malta became a Member State of the European Union.  In 2008 Malta adopted the Euro as its currency and became also part of Schengen.