History of Malta
Malta has a rich and varied history which has made it the fascinating place it is today.The pre-history of Malta dates back to around 5200 BC when man first arrived here. It is believed the first inhabitants of Malta came from Sicily and were mainly farming and fishing communities. Living in caves and open dwellings Malta became their new home. They erected temples and other structures throughout the islands which can still be seen today. This was known as the temple period and lasted between 3600BC - 2500BC.
No-one really knows what happened to the people of this period as they seem to have simply disappeared. Around 1000BC the islands were colonised by the Phoenicians, using it as a base to expand trading and exploration in the mediterranean. They remained here for over 300 years introducing glass making to the islands during this time.
In 400BC the islands came under the control of the Carthaginians. Later during the Punic wars in 210BC the Romans were the next to rule over the islands. In 535AD the Arabs conquered the islands bringing many changes including the modification of the ancient city of Mdina. The city still stands today and is an amazing fortified structure as well as a major attraction on the island today.
Following the Arab rule of the islands, Malta was once again thrown into conflict. This lead to the island falling under the rule of the Normans under Roger II of Sicily. During the 16th century the Turks began expanding their empire which drove the Knights of St. John out of Rhodes.
King Charles V gave the islands of Malta to the Knights. The Knights had a major influence on these islands building churches, palaces and fortifying the city of Valletta during their reign. They remained in Malta for 275 years defending the island from the Turks during the great siege of 1565.
In 1798 the French under Napoleon took control of the island but only lasted two years. They were eventually ousted by the Maltese with the help of the British. The British remained here until 1964, bringing many changes. These included the English language, political system in co-operation with the Maltese and the legal system.
Much of the presence of the British is evident throughout Malta today. In 1964 Malta became an independent state and later in 1974 a republic. In 1990 Malta applied for membership of the European Union and finally joined in 2004.