Cities in MALTA




Megalithic Temple of Hagar Qim, MaltaPhoto:Hamelin de Guettelet CCAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The first Maltese were farmers who kept livestock and made some pottery. They arrived around 5200 BC. probably from Sicily. In this time people still lived in caves. This earliest civilization came about 4100 BC. an end. Around that time, people left the caves and settled in small villages. About 3600 BC. people came to Malta from the megalith culture. They made buildings of large stones, comparable to Stonehenge in England. What is special is that these temples are the oldest free-standing buildings in the world!

Another striking remnant from prehistoric times are the enormous "cart tracks". The tracks are about 1.30 m apart and are up to 75 cm deep and are an unsolved mystery.


Roman Baths, MaltaPhoto:Fran Vincentz Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The first Phoenicians arrived in 800 BC. and set up trading posts. They discovered that Malta was a very useful port for them on the crossing from Sicily to Africa. Moreover, Malta was of great strategic importance from a military point of view. They were followed by the Punic of Carthage, who after their defeat in the Second Punic War in 218 BC. were driven out again by the Romans. The shipwreck of the apostle Paul in AD 56. is said to have taken place in Malta; he is said to have founded a Christian congregation there. When the Roman Empire was split in 397, Malta probably belonged to the Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire.

Middle Ages and New Times

Malta was conquered in 870 by Arabs from Tunisia. Very little tangible from that period has been preserved. Their arrival did have a major influence on the Maltese language. Many place names can be traced back to Arabic. After the capture by Roger of Normandy in 1090, Malta belonged to the rulers of Sicily. Malta has suffered a lot from changing rulers, especially since the thirteenth century. The islanders were exploited and regularly visited by North African and Turkish pirates.

St. John's Fortress St Angelo in MaltaPhoto:Frank Vincentz Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

In 1530 Charles V gave the islands to the Military Knighthood of St. John of Jerusalem, the Johannites. In 1565 the Johannites managed to withstand a four-month siege by the Turks. They were hailed across Europe as the saviors of Christian civilization. In 1571 the Turks suffered a major defeat at Lepanto and the Turkish threat slowly diminished. The French Revolution in 1789 dealt a heavy blow to the Johanniter because all their property in France was confiscated. In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte got hold of Malta while passing through Egypt without a fight. His rule soon led to a revolt against the garrison, and with British support, the French were expelled in 1800. The British made Malta a British Crown colony and naval base at the Peace of Paris (1814), which became essential for the British shipping route to India after the opening of the Suez Canal (1864).

20th century

During the First World War, ships were repaired on Malta that had been damaged by the war. Many wounded front soldiers were also cared for. In 1921 Malta was given limited autonomy and its own parliament. However, the constitution was repealed in 1933 because the Maltese threatened to join Mussolini's fascist Italy.

Damage after bombing in Valetta, June 1942Photo:Public domain

In World War II, Malta was of great strategic importance to the Allies in North Africa and later to the invasion of Sicily. Malta was attacked by the Italian and German Air Forces but held up despite a blockade and 2,000 air raids. Thousands were killed, tens of thousands of houses were destroyed and the population was starving. Malta was awarded the high British military decoration, the George Cross, which can still be found on the national flag. In 1947, a renewed constitution came into effect, which was again suspended in 1958, following the resignation of the Mintoff government due to the failure of its policy of integrating Malta with Britain. The decline of Malta's strategic importance through the collapse of the British Empire and the downsizing of British defense eventually led to the granting of independence on September 21, 1964.

Monument to the Independence of MaltaPhoto:A Ocram in het publieke domein

In 1974 the republic was proclaimed, and the privileged position of the Roman Catholic clergy came to an end. In 1979 the contract with the British fleet expired and the last British troops left. The 1980s-'87 was a turbulent period. Especially when the government tried to get a grip on private education in 1984, this led to a major conflict with the Roman Catholic Church. Mintoff stepped down in December 1984 in favor of his self-chosen successor K. Mifsud Bonnici. In 1985 the school battle was ended by an agreement with the Vatican. The run-up to the 1987 elections was unsettled and violent. A constitutional amendment was introduced, which meant that in future the party with an absolute majority vote would also receive a seat majority in parliament. This allowed the PN to take over the government after a peaceful change of power. E. Fenech Adami became Prime Minister.

Edward Fenech Adami, Prime Minister and later President of MaltaPhoto:Michal Koziczynski Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Poland no changes made

In April 1994, former leader of the ruling Nationalist Party, Ugo Mifsud Bonnici, was sworn in as president, succeeding Vincent Tabone. The October 1996 parliamentary elections aimed at Malta's accession to the EU, which was applied for in 1990. In November 1996, the EU was informed that Malta no longer wanted EU membership. The reason for this was that the economy continued to develop well, mainly thanks to the rapid growth of tourism.

21st century

Malta joined the European Union on May 1, 2004.

The policy of the opposition party MLP has changed since Malta's accession to the EU. The party now supports Maltese membership and is gradually transforming itself into a more modern and pragmatic social democratic party, inspired by similar processes in European sister parties. This was also reflected in the unanimous ratification of the Constitutional Treaty (on 7 July 2005) and the accession treaties with Romania and Bulgaria (on 24 January 2006) by the Maltese Parliament.

Lawrence Gonzi, MaltaPhoto:Wergheld Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

After Eddie Fenech Adami retired as Prime Minister in March 2004 after a political career spanning more than 28 years - a month later he was appointed President of the Republic by Parliament - a new PN government was formed under the leadership of former Vice-President. Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs Lawrence Gonzi. In the race for leadership, he largely beat Finance Minister John Dalli and Education Minister Louis Galea. In the new cabinet, Dalli became Minister of Foreign Affairs, a post that became vacant with the departure of Joe Borg, who became Malta's first Commissioner in Brussels. After trust in Dalli was severely diminished in the spring of 2004 over alleged corruption, he resigned to Prime Minister Gonzi in July 2004. The then Secretary of State Michael Frendo, an outspoken Europhile, succeeded Dalli as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In the European Parliament and Local Council elections held at the same time on 12 July 2004, domestic political relations in Malta changed. For the first time in six years, Prime Minister Gonzi's reigning PN suffered a political defeat: the MLP scored 48%, while the PN got only 41% of the vote. This was partly due to the fact that almost 10% of the voters cast a protest vote on the green AD. As a result, three of the five MEP seats allocated to Malta went to (then still considered anti-Europe) Labor and only two to the PN, the party that had brought Malta into the EU. In the municipal elections of March 2005, the MLP also made a profit in almost all municipalities.

Joseph Muscat, MaltaPhoto:Aron Mifsud Bonnici Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes

Despite the political discord, the political parties in Malta have come closer in attitudes towards Europe. On the night of 6-7 July 2005, in a demonstration of seldom political unanimity, the MLP voted unanimously in Parliament in favor of a PN motion to approve the Constitutional Treaty for Europe. The MLP thus showed that it has largely revised its anti-European stance. The euro was officially introduced as legal tender on 1 January 2008. In March 2008 the PN narrowly won the elections. The incumbent president has been George Abela since 2009. In March 2013, Labor wins the elections and Joseph Muscat becomes prime minister. In June 2017 Muscat will be re-elected in the parliamentary elections. Georg Vella will be elected 10th President of Malta in 2019.

Robert Abela, Malta

Photo:Deadsite 22 CCAttribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Joseph Muscat is forced to leave the field for Robert Abela in January 2021 as a result of the scandal surrounding the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who investigated corruption and was the victim of a car bomb in 2017 in dubious circumstances.

Click the menu button at the top left of the screen for more information


Boulton, S. / Malta

Cutajar, D. / Malta en Gozo
Publications Ltd.

Encarta Encyclopedie

Leeuwen, G. van / Malta

Strijbos, E. / Malta en Gozo

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles Minbuza

Last updated September 2021
Copyright: Team Landenweb