Malta through the Ages - a look at Malta in the past

27 February 2017

If you’re planning a holiday in Malta, a short walk around any of the towns and villages will show you that the Maltese islands are bursting with history. Each step you take is bound to hold some part of Malta’s history, whether you’re taking a stroll along the bastions in Valletta where battles were won and lost, or wandering around prehistoric temples that housed the earliest settlers in Malta.

There are many threads that make up the tapestry of Malta’s rich history, here are just a few that weave through it.

Malta through the ages

Back in Days of Sun Gods and Temples

While Malta is young politically, its land holds some of the oldest prehistoric artefacts dating back to 4000 BC. It is said that the earliest settlers arrived from Sicily in 5200BC. By some stroke of luck, some of the free-standing structures built at the time have survived to see the 21st century. These Neolithic and megalithic structures are some of the oldest on Earth, predating even Stonehenge.

The In-between

In its story, Malta has always seen itself being colonised. Long before the British made their way to its sunny shores, Malta was ruled by the Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and the Romans, all before 800 AD. The second millennium saw Malta under the Arab rule, and then Norman, Aragonese and Sicilian rule up to the 16th century.

Malta through the ages

When Knights Ruled

In 1530, the Kingdom of Sicily gave the Order of the Knights of Saint John the right to settle in Malta, in return for an annual tribute of one Maltese Falcon. While the people of Malta resisted many of their colonisers before then, the Knights were welcomed to the islands with open arms. During the Knights’ settlement, the population of Malta grew tenfold and the infrastructure was improved upon greatly, mainly by the construction of Valletta, led by Grandmaster La Valette. The Knights were then driven out in 1798 when the French navy captured Malta under Napoleon’s charge.

Malta through the ages

The Queen’s Islands

From the 19th century up to 1964, Malta was under British rule, mainly acting as a strategic asset with its advantageous position in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. During its time under the British, Malta saw improvements in its trade system, education and its infrastructure. However, Malta was also heavily bombed throughout the second world war. This led to King George VI awarding the Maltese people the George Cross for their bravery during this time. The George Cross now appears on the upper left corner of the Maltese flag.

An independent European Country

Nowadays, Malta is a republic and, as of 2004, a member state of the European Union. Malta’s rich and diverse history acts a major influence on Maltese culture, which embraces customs from all over the globe.

Malta has come a long way throughout its rich history. If you’d like to experience the historic significance the tiny islands have had and continue to have, book your flights to Malta today!

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