Archaeological finds indicate that the island of
Malta was already settled in the Neolithic period.
Around 5000 BC immigrants from southern Italy probably
came to the island, remnants of the megalithic culture
they built can still be seen today. From 1000 BC the
island's natural harbors were used as bases by
Phoenician seafarers. The Greeks followed around 300
years later, in the 6th century the island belonged to
the Carthaginian Empire. As a result of the Second Punic
War (218-201 BC) the island fell into the hands of the
Romans, who called it "Melita" (honey island).
After the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD
Malta fell to the Byzantine Empire. Around 40 years
later, during the migration of the peoples, the
Ostrogoths conquered the island, then the Germanic
vandals, from 533 it belonged to the Byzantine Empire.
In the 9th century, Malta was occupied by Muslim Arabs
who were exposed by the Normans around 1091. Malta
became part of the Kingdom of Sicily, which was later
expanded to include southern Italy.
In the Middle Ages, the Staufer (from 1194), the
French house Anjou (from 1268), the Spanish Aragon (from
1284) and the Spanish line of the Habsburgs (from 1412)
successively ruled the Mediterranean island. In 1530,
the Habsburg Charles V gave the island of Malta to the
spiritual order of knights of the Johanniter, who had
been exposed from the island of Rhodes by the Turks, as
a fief. This changed its name to the Order of Malta and
subsequently successfully repeated several attacks by
the Ottoman Empire on the island as the southernmost
bastion of European Christianity. According to AbbreviationFinder,
after the Ottoman army
had to withdraw without success after a four-month siege
in 1565, the entire island was expanded like a fortress;
Valetta replaced Mdina as the capital in 1571.
In 1789, Napoleon Bonaparte conquered the island as
part of his Egypt campaign, the religious state was
dissolved, his followers left the island.
In September 1800, the British occupied Malta under
the leadership of Admiral Lord Nelson. After the end of
the Napoleonic Wars, the island became the crown colony
of Great Britain. As in previous centuries, Malta was of
great strategic importance for its British occupiers.
They developed the island into their most important
naval base in the Mediterranean. With the opening of the
Suez Canal in 1869, Malta became an important stopover
on the new sea route to India, the most valuable British
In both world wars in the 20th century, the island
served the Allied forces as an important base and base
for their troops. In 1941, around 1,500 Maltese died as
a result of German bombing and the consequences of the
German blockade on the island. For their persistent
resistance to the German attacks, the Maltese was
awarded the British George Cross (George Cross), the
image of which was later included in the state flag.
On the island itself, the call for independence from
the British motherland grew louder. In 1921 Great
Britain temporarily granted limited internal
self-government, which was repeatedly suspended. Only
after the end of World War II was Malta granted full
internal autonomy, and in 1964 the country was released
as a constitutional monarchy under the British
Commonwealth. Georgio Borg Olivier became the country's
first prime minister and thus head of government from
the conservative-liberal Nationalist Party (NP). Britain
continued to maintain a naval base on the island, and
the government of Malta received substantial financial
assistance in return.
The Labor Party in Malta came to power in 1971 and
was the dominant political force until 1987. Prime
Minister Dom Mintoff (until 1984), who sought close
contact with the Soviet Union and Libya, ruled as an
autocrat. In 1974, Malta became a parliamentary republic
through a new constitution. The British military
presence on the island ended in 1979. Mintoff's
successor, Labor MP Carmelo Mifus Bonnici, continued his
course of disempowering the Catholic Church in Malta,
and in 1983 the church's property was expropriated.
In the same year, a treaty was ratified in Italy
guaranteeing Maltese neutrality. In 1987 the country's
non-alignment and neutrality were laid down in the
constitution. The dominance of the Labor Party, the more
western-oriented Nationalist Party (NP), which had
campaigned for an end to the "cultural war" against the
Church, ended in the same year, won the parliamentary
elections and appointed Edward Fenech Adami as the new
In 1990 Malta submitted the formal application for
admission to the European Community (EC), which was
approved in principle three years later. However, the
socialist Labor Party, which came back to power in
October 1996, withdrew Malta's EC application for
membership and at the same time declared the country's
withdrawal from the NATO program "Partnership for Peace"
in order to maintain the country's declared neutrality.
In 1998 as in 2003, the Nationalist Party again won the
parliamentary elections and the government once again
formulated accession to the European Union (EU) as the
most important foreign policy goal. After the population
of Malta agreed to join the EU, Malta became an EU
member country on May 1, 2004 along with ten other
candidates.Since January 1, 2008, the euro has been the
official currency of Malta. On the 30th.