Malta has a very long history with various invasion successes and attempts.
This is partially what makes Malta’s culture so unique and diverse; it is because of the influences of all the different cultures that kept coming here.
Because of its strategic location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, many different empires wanted to have their influence and presence in Malta.
That is one of the reasons why Malta has such a difficult past and it was invaded by so many different people.
Nevertheless, Malta managed to make it out, in the end, stronger than ever!
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Early History Of Malta
The first people to live in Malta crossed over from Sicily more than 8000 years ago. They crossed a land bridge which connected Sicily and Malta.
One can find the remains of the earliest inhabitants can still be found throughout various cities in Malta and in Ggantija, Gozo.
Phoenicians And Carthaginians
Around 2,000 B.C. the Neolithic culture began to fade away and Phoenicians conquered Malta in 800 BC. They were the first people who invaded Malta.
The Carthaginians occupied Malta 200 years later and replaced the Phoenicians.
In 255 BC ,after their victory in the First Punic Wars against the Carthaginians, The romans invaded and Malta and caused a lot of destruction.
The Romans destroyed the Carthaginian city of Maleth,re-build it and called it Melite.
After the fall of the Roman empire, the Byzantine empire conquered Malta in the year 533.
During the middle ages, Malta was part of the Byzantine-Arab Wars which led to the Arab invasion of the islands.
The Arabs invaded and conquered Malta in 870.
They renamed Melite, Medina which is now known as Mdina. Mdina is the oldest city in Malta is on UNESCO’s tentative list to become a World Heritage Site.
The Arabs brought over the Siculo-Arabic language from Sicily which has evolved into the Maltese language that you hear throughout the island today.
During their time in Malta, they also introduced new irrigation, cotton and some fruits to the Island.
The Normans took hold of Malta around 1091 and were welcomed with open arms by the native Christians.
The Maltese islands became part of the Kingdom of Sicily, which also covered a large part of present-day Italy.
From 1530 until 1798, the Order of Knights of St. John ruled the Maltese Islands.
During the ruling of the Knights, living conditions were improved immensely across the islands. They built hospitals, prompted trade and encouraged commerce.
Throughout the time of the Knights, they also built strong fortresses around Malta as protection.
By doing all of this, they managed to successfully hold out for many months throughout all of the assaults and dreadful fighting brought onto them by Ottoman invaders.
Napoleon Invades Malta
In 1798, Napoleon’s army conquered Malta completely eliminating the Knights of St. John from power. They were not ready for this forceful invasion at all.
The British Throne took over Malta after Napoleon’s demise and ruled the islands for the next 160 years.
It’s evident to see a lot of the British systems such as the administration, legislation and educations to still be in place throughout Malta.
During World War II, German forces attempted to take over Malta by bombing it constantly.
However, the British and Maltese joined forces in their battle for survival defeating the Germans.
King George VI awarded Malta with the George Cross when he saw the strong spirit and determination that the population of Malta held.
He engraved a message into a marble plaque which is on the outside of the Presidential Palace in Valletta.
The message says, ‘To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta, to bear witness to a heroism and a devotion that will long be famous in history’.
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To this day, this award is still part of the national flag of Malta. It is a symbol of a proud nation.
Eventually, Malta gained its independence from the British in 1964.
Later in 1990, Malta applied to the European Union. This attempt divided the Maltese population in half.
However, after several negotiations and votes, the population came to a consensus with proceeding forward with the application to join the EU.
In May 2004, Malta succeeded and became a member of the European Union!
Not too long after, in 2008, Malta adopted the Euro as the new currency instead of the Maltese lira.
Today Malta stands strong and proud in the independence that it gained from all the previous struggles it had to undertake.
As years go by, Malta is growing and evolving into a great place to visit as well as to live.
It offers history, the Mediterranean Sea, 300 days of sun and delicious cuisine from ll over the world .
Malta is a true gem!