The History of Malta

Discover the history of Malta!


5200-4600 Ghar-Darlam culture: Sicilian farmers colonize the islands
4200-3600 Zebbug
Malta's culture: believed resettled from Sardinia
3600-3200 Ggantija Culture: The first stone temples built
3200-3000 Saflieni-culture: the twin-axle temple construction Hypogeum
3000-2500 Tarxien culture: completion of the great temples. At the end of the period
Malta and Gozo were deserted for unknown reasons
2000-1000 Bronze Age: Re-colonization from
Sicily, the first metal tools and cremations. The enigmatic stone troughs (cart ruts) are formed
700-600 Ancient Carthage: Originally a Phoenician colony of Malta founded as a commercial and military base
218 The Romans defeat Carthage and occupy Malta

The ancient world

60 Paul, a disputed interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles, said to have been stranded, on his journey to Rome in the St. Paul's Bay in Malta and converted the first Maltese Christians.
395 on the partition of the Roman Empire, Malta was one of the first to join eastern Rome
500-600 The island belongs to the kingdom of the Vandals and Goths
535 Through the successful conquest of the commander Belisarius, Malta and southern Italy belong to the Byzantine Empire Emperor Justinian

The Middle Ages
870 The Muslim Aghlabids attacked Malta. According to a controversial Arab source, they killed all the inhabitants of the islands and it remained uninhabited for nearly two centuries.
1048 Re-colonization of
Malta and Gozo with 5,000 Muslim and Christian Sicilians. The Arabic-speaking immigrants bring cotton plants, citrus trees and the technology of artificial irrigation.
1127 Norman Prince Roger III and the Arab governors unite the archipelago of
Malta and Sicily.
1194 The Staufer inherit the
Normans in Malta. Under Emperor Frederick III the Muslims of Sicily and Malta are increasingly suppressed.
1282 The now largely Christianized islands belong with
Sicily to the Kingdom of Aragon-Catalonia. Sicilian feudal lords operate in Malta and Gozo large cotton plantations.
1397 Martin, King of Aragon, recognizes the Università, the self-administration of the Maltese nobility.
1428 Alfonso V places the islands directly under the Crown.
By 1479 the union of the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile, 
Malta is part of the Spanish Empire


Early Modern Era
After 1530 the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem were driven from Rhodes by the Turks, Charles V gives
Malta as a fief. The island was developed into a bulwark of the West against the Islamic conquerors. Website of the Order of Malta
1551 Ottoman pirates ravage and de-populate Gozo (The Gozitans were kidnapped as slaves)
1565 the great siege by the Turks was repulsed and the Turks driven out after long and intense fighting. In the ensuing year, the Grand Master de la Valette started building a modern capital city Valletta, Europe's oldest "city drawing board”
1574 Opening of the Sacra Infirmiera. With the modern hospital the Knights continue in their origin as helpers for the sick pilgrims in the
Holy Land.
1641 Last Ottoman attack. With the proceeds from the piracy and the land ownership in
Europe the Catholic Order pays for the elaborate baroque buildings, aqueducts and fortifications.
1798 Ferdinand of Hompesch, the only Grand Master of German origin capitulated without a fight in front of the fleet of Napoleon.

The Order of
St John in Malta
1800 Supported by an anti-French revolt of the Maltese population, British troops occupy the island.
Malta becomes a British crown colony and an important naval base.
1890 Construction of a railway from
Valletta to Rabat (no longer in operation)
1919/1921 After riots of the poor over a bread tax
London granted the country a partial autonomy. The first all-Maltese Parliament is elected.
1940 The Second World War brought the Maltese a naval blockade by the Axis powers. Heavy air attacks damaged the
port of Valletta in particular, this lasted until 1943.
Malta was awarded by King George VI with the George Cross in gratitude for the resistance during World War II


Newest developments

Malta granted independence for the first time, but only within the British Commonwealth.
1974 Proclamation of the Republic.
1979 The last British troops leave
Malta applies for membership of the EU but application is frozen due to a change to a Labour government.
1998 After the election victory of the nationalists
Malta renews its negotiations with the EU.
2004 On May 1st,
becomes, with 10 other countries, a member of the EU
2008 On January 1st the € replaces the Maltese pound (lira Maltese) as currency.