HISTORY OF MALTA
Malta has a long history and was first inhabited in around 5900 BC. The first inhabitants were farmers, and their agricultural methods degraded the soil until the islands became uninhabitable. The islands were repopulated in around 3850 BC by a civilization which at its peak built the Megalithic Temples, which today are among the oldest surviving buildings in the world.
Neolithic Period (5000 - 3800 BC)
- Ghar Dalam, Skorba Temples (Malta), Santa Verna (Gozo)
Temple Period (3800 – 2500 BC)
Mgarr Phase (3800 – 3600 BC)
- Ta’ Hagrat Temples (Malta)
Ġgantija Phase (3600–3000 BC)
- Ggantija Temples (Gozo), Hagar Qim & MnajdraTemples (Malta)
Saflieni Phase (3300–3000 BC)
- Hal-Ginwi Temple, Tal-Qadi Temple, Xrobb l-Ghagin Temple (Malta)
Tarxien Phase (3150–2500 BC)
- Tarxien Temples & Tarxien Cemetery (Malta)
Bronze Age - (c. 2500–700 BC)
Tarxien Cemetery, Borg in Nadur, Qlejgha tal-Bahrija (Malta)
Clapham Junction Cart Ruts (Misrah Ghar il-Kbir), Buswedien Cart Ruts (Naxxar)
Phoenicians and Carthage (c. 1000 BC – 218BC)
- 720 BC - A Phoenician colony is founded on Malta. This maritime power based on trade and commerce referred to the island as Maleth, which means "shelter".
- 480 BC - The islands come under the control of Carthage, a former Phoenician colony, and rapidly develop into a Carthaginian naval base, with Birgu (Vittoriosa) as their main harbour.
- Remnants from this period are found at Tas-Silg (Marsaxlokk - Malta), San Pawl Milqi (Malta)and Ras il-Wardija (Gozo)
Roman Rule (c. 218 BC – 532)
- 200 BC - A Roman temple, dedicated to the goddess Hera, is built over the remains of the Tas-Silġ megalithic temples. (to 300)
- 218 BC - Malta is incorporated into the Roman Republic, within the province of Sicily.
- 41 - The Maltese are granted municipal privileges by Rome.
- 60 - Saint Paul shipwrecked on the island. Saint Publius Prince of Malta. First Bishop of Malta. - The Commemoration of St. Paul’s Shipwreck is celebrated yearly on the 10thFebruary.
- Remnants from this period are found in Rabat, Malta – The Domus Romana, St. Paul’s Catacombs, St. Agatha’s Catacombs.
Byzantine Rule (535 to 869 AC)
- 533 - Belisarius restores the Maltese Islands to the Byzantine Empire.
- During the Byzantine period, the main settlements remained the city of Melite on Mainland Malta and the Citadel on Gozo while Marsaxlokk, Marsaskala, Marsa and Xlendi are believed to have served as harbours.
Arab Period 870–1091
- 970 - Malta is conquered by Aghlabid Arabs.
- The fortified Roman settlement of Melita, on the highlands in the centre of Malta, is reduced in size, further fortified, and renamed Medina, precursor to the Medieval city of Mdina.
- The Arabs construct a fort on the site of present-day Fort St Angelo.
- Improved agriculture and irrigation systems are introduced, including the 'noria' or waterwheel; cotton and citrus fruits are introduced to Malta.
Norman Period: 1091–1224
- 1091 - The Norman Count Roger I of Sicily invades Malta and the Muslim inhabitants negotiate a peaceful surrender. Gozo is sacked by the Normans.
- 1154 - The Catholic Church in Malta is incorporated into the See of Palermo.
Anjou and Aragonese Period: 1225–1529
- 1266 – 1283 Malta and Sicily are ruled by the Angevins.
- 1283 - Malta and Sicily fall under the rule of the Crown of Aragon
- 1425 - Maltese representatives appear before the same Court, offering to "redeem" the Islands by repaying the 30,000 florins originally paid by Monroy for his fiefdom over Malta, and asking King Alfonso to incorporate the Islands into his Royal Domains.
Knights of St. John: 1530–1798
- 1530 - In an effort to protect Rome from Islamic invasion, Emperor Charles V grants the Maltese Islands to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in perpetual fief.
- 1533 - Fortification and development of Fort St Elmo, on the tip of the Sciberras Peninsula (now Valletta).
- 1535 - First known celebration of Carnival in Malta.
- 1552 - After the 1551 attack, Senglea was built on the peninsula known as L'Isola. In Birgu, Fort Saint Angelo was built on the site of the ancient Castrum Maris, And the construction of Fort Saint Michael, in Senglea.
- 1565 – The Great Siege of Malta.
- 1566 - The founding of Malta's new capital city, Valletta (Mount Sciberras). A general strengthening of Malta's fortifications is undertaken.
- 1571 - The new city of Valletta became the capital instead of Birgu (Vittoriosa).
French Occupation: 1798 – 1800
- 1798 - Napoleon invades Malta. Mdina (Notabile) capitulates on 10 June. The act of capitulation of Mdina is signed on the one part by Vincenzo Barbara representing the French Republic and the Hakem together with the jurats representing the people
- 1798 - Tsar Paul I of Russia become de facto Grand Master of the Order, and orders the creation of a "Throne of Malta," in the Vorontsov Palace in St. Petersburg (now on display in the State Hermitage Museum).
- 1799 - The Maltese people rebelled against the French following extensive pillaging of Maltese churches and cathedrals, and the French garrison of General Claude-Henri Belgrand de Vaubois retreated into Valletta. After several failed attempts by the locals to retake Valletta, the British were asked for their assistance. Rear Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson decided on a total blockade in 1799.
- 1800 - The French surrender. General Vaubois surrendered and with Rear Admiral Villeneuve, Major General Pigot and Captain Martin, signed the articles of Capitulation.
British Period: 1800-1964
- 1801 - Admiral Sir Alexander Ball is sent to Malta as Plenipotentiary Minister of His British Majesty for the Order of Saint John, with orders to evacuate the British forces from the Islands, and to prepare for their return to the Knights of St. John.
- 1835 - Malta was granted a Constitution providing for a Council of Government of seven members of whom three were to be nominated Maltese representatives.
- 1919, 7th June - Sette Giugno protests over increases in the price of bread. British soldiers fire on the crowd and kill four Maltese protesters, during a violent riot instigated by stud ents. The protests lead to greater autonomy for the Maltese.
- 1934 - English and Maltese are declared the official languages of Malta, to the exclusion of Italian which had been the primary language of government, commerce, education and culture in Malta for more than 800 years.
- 1940 - First air raids on Malta. Malta would go on to endure the heaviest, sustained bombing attack of the War: some 154 days and nights and 6,700 tons of bombs.
- 1942, 7th April – The Royal Opera House, Valletta, is destroyed by Luftwaffe Bombers
- 1942, 9th April - A 200 kg bomb pierces the dome of the Rotunda of Sta. Marija Assunta, Mosta, but skids across the floor without exploding; two other bombs bounce off the roof and fail to explode; 300 people were hearing Mass inside the church at the time.
- 1942, 15th April - King George VI awarded the George Cross (the highest civilian award for gallantry) "to the island fortress of Malta"
- 1943 - The Allies launched the invasion of Sicily from Malta. The invasion was coordinated from the Lascaris War Rooms in Valletta. Following the Armistice of Cassibile later in 1943, a large part of the Italian Navy surrendered to the British in Malta.
Independent Malta 1964 – to date
- 1964 – 21st September, Malta is granted independence from the United Kingdom as a Constitutional Monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as its Head of State.
- 1974 – 13th December, Malta becomes a Republic, with the last Governor-General, Sir Anthony Mamo, serving as its first President. Malta remains a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
- 1979 – 31st March, Freedom Day, Termination of the Military Base Agreement. The Duke of Edinburgh oversees the departure of the last British forces from Malta.
- 2004 – 1st May, Malta becomes a member of the European Union.
- 2008 – 1st January, Malta adopts the Euro, which replaces the Maltese lira.