The brief history of Malta
The Republic of Malta (316 km2) consisted of Malta ( 28 x 14 km), Gozo ( 14 x 7 km) and Comino (3 1/2 km). There are five very small uninhabited islands (rocks) like Filfla, Cominette, St. Paul's Island. They are situated in the Mediterranean about 288 km north of Tunesia, 93 km south of Sicily and 387 km km north of Libya.
20.000 BC The last high glacier. At this point the word was a cold, dry and windy place, with ice sheets extending down into Italy. Because of the take up of water in the ice caps the sea level was much lower, possibly 300 feet or more, so that Malta would have extended out towards the end of the continental shelf and be much larger than now, and also much closer to Sicily and Tunisia.
15.000 BC. The ice is beginning to melt, but human beings still have a difficult time surviving. In small scattered groups they hunt and gather wild plants and fruit, moving to wherever they can find sustenance.
10.000 BC. The ice has begun to melt in earnest, raising sea level everywhere and reducing the land surface. Temperatures are beginning to rise. Gradually men started tot domesticate animals and tot grow crop. They began a more settled life-style, building more permanent houses and coming together in larger numbers to make villages and towns.
5.000 BC. Temple Age Man. We know that men were in Malta from carbon dating of crop remains. These were the Temple People/so called because of the cyclopean religious structures, the first monumental architecture we know of in the world. This ruins of unique temples are older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt.
2500 BC. Temple Culture collapses.
2200 BC/ Bronze Age people come to Malta, probably from Sicily."
During the Punic war Malta was conquered by the Roman Empire and belonged to the Roman Empire till 133 BC, which lasted till the fall of the Roman Empire in 476. Malta has about 375 churches, 98 % of the population is Roman Catholic. At present there are about 435.000 inhabitants."
800BC. Phoenician traders arrive and colonise the Islands.
60 AD. In the year 60 AD evangelist Paulus was shipwrecked in St. Paul's Bay. He became Patron Saint of Malta. The Roman and Byzantine rule in Malta degenerates, but Malta becomes Christian.
454 - 1091. In 454 the Vandals ruled Malta, in 533 followed by the Byzantines. In 870 by the Islamic Arabs and Malta becomes Moslem. In 1091 The Normans (Roger of Sicily) came and Malta becomes Christian once more."
The order started in 1113 in Jerusalem and consisted of hospitallers. Their task was to protect and nurse the Pilgrims. The order had taken the vow of poverty, chastity and obedience to Pope Paschalis II .\r\nAs the protection of the ill was a military task the order was being reorganised. Knights were responsible for the protective task and ministers of religion like chaplains, priests and brothers do the caring and organise domestic affairs. The Order became the Order of Knighthood. ( Ordo militaris Sancti Johannis Baptistae Hospitalis Hierosolymitani).
The Knights were active in the areas around Tripoli in \" Krak des Chevaliers\" (still intact). the good work of the Order was rewarded with many gifts through which the Order quickly had the disposal of goods in the Holy Land, Asia Minor and Europe.
However by the advancing of the Turks (enlarging the Ottoman Empire) , the Order had to move several times; to Akko (1191), Cyprus (1291) and Rhodes (1309).
After that Malta was given to the Order for a Falcon a year.
In 1522 Cyprus was also occupied by the Turks and after leaving Cyprus the Knights wandered for 7 years in Italy.
The Order withstood several Ottoman invasions. The most important battle took place in 1565. (The great Siege of Malta).
In 1798 Malta was besieged by the French (under command of General Napoleon Bonaparte). In 1800 the battle against the French began with the help from the population together with the British Royal Navy and the French were driven away.
Malta became involved in WWI (1914-1918) when Great Britain declared war on Germany on the 4th of August 1914.
During WWII Malta suffered many attacks from the Germans in 1941. They needed Malta as a strategic position for provisioning North Africa.
The Maltese committed itself during WWII in such a way that it received the George Cross (heroism, bravery and dedication), which now can be seen in the Maltese flag.
Malta was being ruled by the British Government till 1964, after which Malta became independent.
On the 1st May 2004 parliamentary republic Malta became an EU member state and has 6 of the maximum 751 seats in the Europian Parliament.
Since 21st December 2007 Malta is part of Schengen.
Since 1st January 2008 Malta is a member of the Eurozone and uses the Euro currency.
Malta had the Presendency of the EU from 1st January 2017 for 6 months.
Malta has about 411.000 inhabitants on Malta and about 34.000 on Gozo, which is about 0,1% of the EU inhabitants.
The gross national product is ca. 10 milliard euro."
Unemployment 4,1% of the working population."
Because Malta was ruled by the English during ca. 200 years most of the Maltese speak the English language besides the official language Maltese (Malti).
Maltese is a Semitic language and has been influenced, through the years, by conquerors.
The theory is that the Maltese language goes back to the 11th century when colonists from nearby Sicily came to Malta. Before that, in 870, the Arabs conquered Malta and after that many others. They all left their influence and words from the Sicilians, Italians and English are intergrated. Maltese is the only Semitic language which is written in the Latin alphabet. Beside the standard letters of the Latin alphabet, the Maltese alphabet uses some extra diacritical signs.
Some Maltese words:
Good morning / Bongu;
Goodbye / Sahha;
How are you? / Kif int?;
How much? / Kemm?
Thank you / Grazzi
A bottle of water / Flixkun ilma.
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