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History of Malta & Gozo

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History of Malta & Gozo

The Maltese archipelago, situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, made up of Malta, Gozo, Comino and Filfla. This has rendered the islands an important strategic location since the earliest days of navigation and thus has been visited by numerous cultures. The first significant civilisation flourished in the third millennium BC, leaving behind fascinating megalithic temples. Later the island was occupied by the Phoenicians the Carthaginians and the Romans. Malta's independence from Britain was achieved in 1964, and 40 years on Malta joined the EU in May 2004.

Historical Timeline

5200 BCE: Earliest settlers arrive on Malta.

3600 BCE to about 2500 BCE: The Temple period starts, with the construction of the Ġgantija megalithic temple complex on the Island of Gozo, the Mnajdra solar temple complex on Malta, and the Ta' Ħaġrat and Kordin III temples on Malta.1000 BCE: The Phoenicians colonise the islands.

720 BCE: A Greek colony is founded on the main island.

480 BCE: The Maltese Islands come under the control of Carthage.

218 BCE: Malta is incorporated into the Roman Republic.

60: Saint Paul is shipwrecked on Malta.

395-454: Byzantine domination of Malta, following the final division of the Roman Empire.

870: Malta is conquered by Aghlabid Arabs.

1091: Count Roger I of Sicily establishes Norman rule over Malta.

1127: Norman control over Malta is consolidated under Roger II of Sicily, and Christianity re-established as the Islands' dominant religion.

1194-1266: Malta and Sicily are ruled by the Swabians (House of Hohenstaufen).

1266-1283: Malta and Sicily are ruled by the Angevins.

1283-1530: Malta and Sicily are ruled by the Crown of Aragon.

1350: Establishment of the Maltese nobility by Louis of Sicily.

1397: Establishment of the Università, a form of local government, in Malta.

January 3, 1427, King Alfonso incorporates Malta to the Crown of Aragon (Kingdom of Sicily), abolishes the County of Malta, and promises never to grant Malta as a fief to any third party.

October 26, 1530: In an effort to protect Rome from Turkish invasion, Emperor Charles V grants the Maltese Islands to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in perpetual fief.

July 1551: Ottomans and Barbary pirates conquer Gozo and enslave all of its 5,000 to 6,000 inhabitants, bringing them to Tarhuna Wa Msalata in Libya from Mġarr ix-Xini.

May 18 to September 8, 1565: The siege by the Ottoman Empire.

1566: The founding of Malta's new capital city, Valletta. A general strengthening of Malta's fortifications is undertaken.

1798: Napoleon uses a ploy to seize the Islands from the Knights.

1799: Maltese uprising against the French. Britain takes Malta under its protection, in the name of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

1802: Under the Peace of Amiens, Britain is ordered to return Malta to the Knights of St John, but chooses not to comply.

1814: Under the Treaty of Paris, and subsequently ratified by the Congress of Vienna, Malta becomes a British Crown Colony.

1853-1856: The Crimean War; Malta serves as a hospital base for wounded combatants, and acquires the nickname Nurse of the Mediterranean.

1914-1918: Throughout World War One, especially following the failed invasion of Gallipoli, many casualties are shipped to hospitals in Malta, resuming its role as the Nurse of the Mediterranean.

June 7, 1919: 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 students. The protests lead to greater autonomy for the Maltese.

1934: English and Maltese are declared the sole official languages of Malta, to the exclusion of Italian.

1935-1939: Benito Mussolini announces his intention of annexing Malta with Italy, as part of the larger Mare Nostrum campaign for Italian dominance in the Mediterranean.

10 June 1940: Italy declares war on France and the United Kingdom.

15 April 1942: The George Cross is awarded to Malta by King George VI, so as to "bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people".

September 8, 1943: Italy announces its unconditional surrender to the Allied forces.

September 9, 1943: The Italian fleet’s surrender in Malta is signed by U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio.

1961: The State of Malta is created pursuant to the Blood Constitution, which provides for a measure of self-government.

14 February 1956: A referendum is held on the integration of Malta into the United Kingdom.

1958: Talks regarding the integration proposal break down. The United Kingdom imposes direct colonial rule.

21 September 1964: Malta is granted independence from the United Kingdom, as a Constitutional Monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as its Head of State.

1964 - 1970: Malta joins the United Nations and the Council of Europe, and becomes an Associate member of the European Community.

December 13, 1974: 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.

March 31, 1979: Expiry of the Military Agreement between Malta and the United Kingdom. Foreign military base closed.

April 2003: Referendum on European Union membership.

1 May 2004 Malta becomes a member of the European Union.

1 January 2008 Malta replaced the lira with the euro

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