History of Malta
Around 5000 BC
Neolithic farmers arrive.
Neolithic period: Skorba Temples built.
Temple Period: Age of Tarxien and Ggantija temples and Hal Saflieni Hypogeum.
Bronze and Iron Age. Period of fortified villages and ‘cart tracks’.
Phoenicians colonize the islands.
Period of Carthaginian rule.
Romans annexe Malta in their strategy to win the Second Punic War.
St Paul is shipwrecked on Malta and brings Christianity.
Roman power diminishes; Vandal raids.
Byzantine empire gains control.
The Arabs conquer Malta.
Roger the Norman, ruler of Sicily and parts of southern Italy, takes Malta from the Arabs.
Malta (with Sicily) becomes part of the German Hohenstaufen empire.
Charles of Anjou takes over the kingdom of Sicily, of which Malta is part.
Riots against French rule in Sicily. King Pedro I of Aragon defeats Charles of Anjou; Sicily and Malta come under the kingdom of Aragon.
Mid 15th century
Emergence of a università, or local governing body, under Aragonese tutelage.
Malta sacked by Muslims.
Early 16th century
Having declined economically and culturally, Malta is now little more than a rock with a population of about 20,000.
Emperor Charles V of Spain grants the Maltese islands to the knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. The Knights occupy the islands making Birgù (modern Vittoriosa) their Headquarters.
The Great Siege of Malta.
The city of Valletta is founded.
The Maltese capital is formally moved from Birgù to Valetta. A Christian fleet, assisted by the Knights, inflicts defeat on the Ottomans at Lepanto.
Plague causes 8,569 deaths.
Earthquake wrecks most of Mdina.
Sicilian ports are closed to Maltese ships after Grand Master Vilhena resists Charles VIII’s attempt to influence Maltese affairs.
Late 18th century
The Order becomes demilitarized and corrupted by wealth.
The French National Assembly confiscates the Order’s lands in France.
Napoleon takes Malta and plunders the islands. The Order of St John is ordered to leave the island. The Maltese rise up against the French; helped by the British, they besiege the main French garrison.
The French capitulate and the British occupy the island.
The Treaty of Amiens stipulates that Malta should be returned to the Knights, but a powerful group of Maltese declares allegiance to Britain.
Sir Thomas Maitland is appointed as the first British Governor of Malta. Extensive constitutional and administrative reforms are made.
The Treaty of Paris formally recognizes Malta as a British Crown Colony.
The British Admiralty’s first dry dock opens on Malta.
During the Crimean War, Malta acts as a supply station for British forces.
The opening of the Suez Canal makes Malta an important port on the British route to India.
World War I. Malta becomes ‘the Nurse of the Mediterranean’, providing 25,000 beds for the wounded.
Malta is granted self-government ‘in matters of local concern’.
Italy enters World War II.
The Second Great Siege. Over 6,000 tonnes of bombs are dropped on Malta in April alone. On 15 April the George Cross is awarded to the Maltese people for their bravery during the air raids. In August and September, the German and Italian air forces suffer heavy losses over Malta and in October they concede defeat. The UK government announces a grant of GBP 30 million for the reconstruction of the island.
The State of Malta formally comes into being with Dr Borg Olivier as its first Prime Minister.
Malta is granted full independence within the British Commonwealth, though British forces remain.
Malta is declared a republic.
British forces finally leave Malta.
Presidents Bush and Gorbachev meet on a ship moored off Malta for the so-called ‘Seasick Summit’.
Malta applies for full membership of the European Community.
Nationalists ousted by the Labour party.
Nationalist victory puts the island back on course to join the European Union.
Nationalist victory definitely confirms Malta joining the European Union in 2004.