10 APR

History of Malta

The earliest traces of man on the islands is still debated. According to recent theories, the islands, which sometimes can be seen with the naked eye from Sicily, were visited by community dedicated to hunting. It is assumed that permanent settlements have taken place about seven years ago, when the first inhabitants would settle in villages outside, as Skorba (near Mgarr) and natural caves, as Ghar Dalam (near Birzebbuga). These people brought with them ‘mentality agricultural and other different resources, which demonstrate a reasonable level of organization. They introduced domestic animals, crops and even ceramics. Their pottery indicate that the first inhabitants came from southeastern Sicily, since their pottery was the type to rivenuto Stentinello (Syracuse). Since that time never ceased settlements of new communities, especially from Sicily, who in turn introduced new styles of ceramics, as well as the occasional import of obsidian and flint. Although the material found in the prehistoric Malta is not low, there is little that can be traced back to these early communities. Some caves have been identified since they hosted, but no consistent finding has been recorded. A Skorba the remains of a hut have been found, which shows that the first community brought with them ‘knowledge of the manufacture of bricks with mud. Around 3500 BC, the Maltese began to build structures that foreshadowed the famous temples built on the surface.


Mnajdra-equinox-sunriseThe first temples were a modest affair, having been built with small stones, but already there was the idea of ​​the temple formed with more ‘of a room. With time, the whole structure became more ‘majestic. The facades were constructed to architectural, and this was the result of their good design. The interior decorations were interesting, as indicated by the stone slabs, altars and statues. The tombs unearthed are many, although the large structures Hypogeum and the Xaghra Stone Circle testify large necropolis that met the needs of communities in the area. The Civilisations’ process of the Temples’ around 2500 BC, to take over here ‘a new culture, which introduced several practical ideas, including cremation, while there is needed in their entirety of the Temples still standing. Remains archaeologists minors – namely, Dolmen, menhirs and furrows enigm

atic have been associated with this civilization. A characteristic concerns the position of their settlements, which tended to be on the flat tops of the hills, surrounded by steep slopes, which offered them a natural protection. Some of these places were equipped with masonry structures built on purpose in order to repel any attack. This is the first example of fortifications built on the grounds of refuge on the islands.Tarxien Temples-620×348


The Phoenicians put the islands on the map Mediterranean. These merchants of antiquity came to Malta to make use of its ports exceptional, that would provveduto- you presume- the facilities to make more ‘comfortable their stay while they traded with the local population. Probably ended more ‘to sell it to buy (in these early stages the trade would be made ​​up in a form of barter). It seems that the Phoenicians have settled in areas overlooking the harbor, and you are served a large village located more or less in the ‘center of the island. Introduced the glass, which became one of the materials used to make jewelry, as well as necklaces decorated with small figures, gold earrings, bracelets and rings. Some of the Roman Mosaic Backdropobjects found were imported and buried with their respective owners. To the Phoenicians and later the Carthaginians, who would not have made ​​significant changes in Maltese society. It seems that this would continue to operate more or less on the same lines, except that now the North African influences began to prevail, as can be inferred from the type of structures that still exist and the pottery found. Although the islands were attacked by the Romans during the First Punic War, it was only during the Second World War who settled permanently on the island. This took place in 218 BC, and inaugurate ‘the moon Roman occupation that hard’ until the fifth century when various ‘tribes’ that had invaded the Roman Empire, they would take possession of the islands. The islands later fell under the influence of Byzantine around 535 AD The remains of this period are worthy of attention, including the tombs of which we have already made ​​mention. During the third century AD instead began ‘to dig large complex, known today as the catacombs, they used the communities’ local religious. Some can be visited, and the complex that is worth visiting are those of St. Paul and St. Agatha. The Domus Romana and ‘the Roman site par excellence, has, as is’, of precious artifacts and different flooring with mosaic. In the Citadel in Gozo is also a small collection at the Museum of Archaeology.


The event more ‘important during the Roman era was in Sao Paulo. This event also put the name of Malta in the Scriptures, where the whole story of the sinking is told in the Acts of the Apostles. The coming of Paul is told criteria historiographical contemporaries. Throughout the ages, this coming of St. Paul-law ‘many stories, traditions and folk beliefs island paulwhich continued to form the national characteristic of the Maltese. Tradition has it that in fact this event has introduced Christianity in the island, and that the Maltese have practiced his cult without interruption since then.


It seems that the Byzantines have served the island only occasionally, and it is possible that the islands were used as a prison for those convicted of political offenses. The rise of the Arabs on one side and the decline of the Byzantines on the other made the ninth century very turbulent. In North Africa, the Arabs conquered a city ‘after another. In 870 an Arab armed group invaded Malta from Sicily. Some scholars argue that the islands have remained uninhabited except for some families who barely made a living by working the land, and that would be repopulated only in the eleventh century. Other historians assume that the islands have remained uninhabited, or that are inhabited with a population less.


King ruggero secondCount Roger the Norman, arriving in 1091 ‘from Sicily to take possession of the Maltese Islands, as he had done with the large part of the Arab Sicily, and conquered’ once the islands. He allowed the Arabs to remain, provided that recognize its sovereignty, while grappling with whether ‘Christians who wanted to return to their homes. In 1127 his son, King Roger II, was forced to regain Malta, on behalf of the Normans, as the Arab community was beginning to cause problems. This event not only sign ‘the re-Christianization final of the islands, but also increase’ close contacts with Sicily, and later to Europe. Whatever it was introduced in Sicily, was to be adopted in Malta. Sicily and Malta passed by the Normans, Swabians, the Angevins and eventually to the Aragonese who took possession of the islands in 1282.


Aragonese and Catalan families settled in Malta, throwing their bases here, and they are all ‘now part of the nobility’ of the islands. A Mdina, then the only city ‘fortified, was instituted a form of local government, known as universitas. This medieval institution controlled the daily affairs of the islands, and acted according to the provisions of the monarch. Among his tasks was to organize a Coast Guard daily and make sure that the fortifications were maintained according to established criteria. Jurors universitas had the task to ensure that the supplies were not lacking in Malta, to hold correspondence with Sicily and even with the king and his court wherever he was at the time. Another important institution in the Middle Ages, it was the local church. Together Universitas, administered the islands, and some expenses were even split between the two institutions. The main church was the Romanesque Cathedral in Mdina with a single bell tower next door, typical of medieval churches. Little and ‘left of this building, since it was rebuilt in Baroque style pompous after it was damaged in the earthquake of 1693. There were various churches on the islands, but they were small compared to those of today. The other two important churches were in Gozo, in the area of ​​Rabat, and Birgu. The latter, dedicated to San Lorenzo, was located near the medieval fortress known as Castrum Maris. Used them not only local but also sailors local governors and officers stationed in the castle. Many other churches were built to provide for the needs of rural populations. Because of this program of reconstruction that comicio ‘in Malta at half’ of VXII century and goes on for a long time, a few medieval churches remained. A rare example and that of St. Catherine in Zejtun. While walking in the winding streets of Mdina, you have the sweet feeling of living in the Middle Ages. It is enough that one is in front of the buildings, or to read the names of the same streets or watching the architectural styles, to feel the spirit of nobility. The campaign has kept most of the features that had in the fifteenth century. The squares, divided by stone walls, small houses with their attractive architectural features, and the various cultures arranged in terrace, have not changed. At the beginning of the fifteenth century when the islands were still being given to the lords in feudal title, the Maltese rose against one of these noble strangers. The riot was a success: although ‘they were forced to return the money that the landowner had lent to the king of Aragon. were assured that the islands were never sold as a fief. With the unification of the Spanish kingdoms, Malta became part of a world empire. In 1523, Charles V of Spain and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire had already been requested to consider the sales of the islands to the Knights of the Order of St. John.


While the riders wanted to buy the islands, Charles wanted to cede the islands to feudal title, behind an annual payment of a falcon. In addition to the islands, the riders Knights-Hospitallerswere asked to take even control of the castle of Tripoli. Eventually in 1530, the Knights accepted the donation, and in October the grand master, the leader of the “Order of St. John, arriving in Malta, initiating n duecentosessantotto kingdom that would last years. The Order was made ​​up of riders of eight different regions of Europe, each representing a language of the continent: Provence, Alverina, France, Italy, Aragon, England, Germany and Castile. Each language had one of its members called the Grand Prior. The first grandmaster to reign in Malta was the French Philippe Villiers de L’Isle Adam. After this great master, twenty-seven other great masters reigned on the Order of Malta. The last, the only German ever chosen, ceded the islands to Napoleon Bonaparte. The Order I find ‘approximately 15,000 inhabitants used to live sparingly and always in danger of raids by pirates. This would change drastically. When I leave the Order ‘Malta’s population had reached the figure of 100,000 souls. The security that the knights were offering, the efficient hospital system they had set up, and jobs to many Maltese, made ​​that Malta would pass a golden period. The Knights settled in the port area. The old castle near the sea became their neighborhoods and was called Fort St. Angelo. The small seaside village of Birgu became their town. They built a line of fortifications to provide defense

solmano the magnificent adequate in the event of a siege. At the foot of the walls of the fort and of Birgu, settled districts of their fleet. Although the headquarters of the Knights were transferred to the new city ‘of Valletta in 1571, the fleet remained in Birgu. In 1551 a large force took possession of the only pirate fortress island of Gozo, the ancient citadel. Tradition has it that the entire population of about 3,000 souls, was brought in bondage and that very few have managed to climb the walls at night. This siege foreshadowed what was being planned on a larger scale. The knights had built new fortifications with greater urgency. The forts of St. Elmo and St. Michael were built in a few months, and other fortifications were added to the line then existing walls; were sent spies to keep the grand master informed of the intentions of the enemy. The intention of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent was to exterminate the knights once and for all. Suleiman was magnanimous after their defeat in 1522, but this time it would not show the same generosity towards them.


The Great SiegeOn May 18, 1565, the soldiers who were guarding reported the arrival of the Turkish army. According to some calculations, would have landed in Malta 40,000 troops. In Malta there were only about 8,000 people, including knights, mercenaries and soldiers of the local militia. The fleet was in need of a safe haven, and it was decided to start with the attack on strong S.Elmo, which controlled the entrance to Marsamxett harbor. The fierce bombing were all targeted to raze the fort St. Elmo. Pero ‘somehow defenders resisted for a whole month, with the grand master who was sending more troops almost every night to continue the heroic resistance. As the fort fell, the Ottoman troops headed to their attention towards other fortification on the other side of the harbor. For all of July and August, the attacks did not cease. There were assaults on both strong individual on all the fortifications. The small relief force arrived in July that was interpreted as a good sign: the islands were not abandoned to their fate. Nevertheless, the great relief force, which could put an end Grand-Master-Jean-de-La-Valetteto ‘siege, was late in coming. It arrival ‘only in September. Since the siege process ‘on September 8, the date of the feast commemorating the birth of Our Lady, the grand master of the order, the soldiers and the Maltese attributed the liberation from the Ottomans to the’ divine intervention. Since that day and became a national holiday.


Glen aereal view.Immediately after this long siege that lasted throughout a hot summer, the grand master wrote to the European sovereigns, thanking them for the praise accorded to the Order, but ‘remember’ them that the Order needed help material. The financial and material aid would be available empire. Pope Pius V just send ‘his help, including his personal military architect, Francesco Laparelli da Cortona, who was asked to prepare the plants for the construction of a new town’ on the promontory, which separates the harbor from the Great Marsamxett . His plants were eventually approved, the name for the new city ‘chosen, and March 28, 1566 there is’ the foundation stone of the new town’ of Valletta. The work continued frantically nobody wanted a fortress whose construction had stopped in the middle ‘because it was feared the return of the enemy. The walls were built first. Laparelli leave ‘immediately Malta, and supervision of the project was entrusted to’ Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar. The locations of the various official languages ​​were designed by Cassar, as well as the monastery church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist. A hospital was also built in front of the entrance of the Grand Harbour. In 1571 the headquarters of the Order was officially transferred to the new city ‘.


tower-de-santa-agate-the-red-tower_508307235px-Emmanuel_Pinto_de_FonsecaThe victory over the Ottoman troops marked the rebirth of the islands. The effect of this victory was that the Order eventually undertook ‘to remain in Malta. The reconstruction of mortar began ‘with solicitude. All ‘beginning of the seventeenth century were built towers look in strategic places of the coast. These were the people feel more ‘safe, and in fact the Orine never stopped improving the fortifications and add new ones. In some places a real fort was built, while in other small towers were built as guard posts. Also there were different types of fortifications, such as batteries, small and trenches. Because the places chosen by the military engineers were strategically valid, were also used by the British when they took possession of Malta.I knights had built an impressive set of buildings. They began with simple characteristic buildings of 500 when the spirit was one sober since the islands were recovering from the trauma of the Great Siege. The architectural style was the late Renaissance and Mannerism, in turn influenced by the tendency Counter for the austere and simple. The Baroque spread in the seventeenth century. In Malta was the famous painter, Caravaggio to give notice to the knights. Some years ‘later Francesco Buonamici, an architect from Lucca, introduced in the islands in the Baroque’ architecture. Since then we do not and never stopped to build in that style. The Knights did rebuild all of their buildings and the main churches. This demonstration of power contagion ‘well the Maltese, and even small villages began to rebuild their parish churches in the Baroque style, which became immediately workshops of sculptures and paintings and beautiful Mdina Cathedralinterior decoration. The artistic wealth that you can ‘appreciate all’ internal

these churches testifies how many activities’ fervesse in those years. At the beginning of 600 a project to get the water to Valletta was built thanks to an aqueduct, which was funded generously by the French master grits Alof De Wignacourt. In 1675 a plague did more ‘than eleven thousand victims from a population of less than 60,000 people. In 1693 an earthquake that devastated ‘southeastern Sicily, shots’ even the Maltese Islands. Although they were not registered deaths were immense structural damage. In 700 the international situation change dramatically. With the French Revolution the Order lost much of its autonomy because many of the properties were confiscated. The properties ‘land’ s Order in Europe were the main source of income that allowed them to stay in Malta and to carry on the various infrastructure projects in the island. With the revenue that dried more and more ‘, and with an increasing number of older riders who retired to Malta’s financial situation worsened by the day. Things reached but ‘a decisive crisis at the end of the century.


Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to Malta under his control ‘cause he needed as a vital naval link between France and the Middle East for which he had already’ planned its invasion during his campaign in June 1798 Egitto.Nel a large French fleet jet ‘even to’ argo dell’isola.I French asked permission to enter the ports to supply ships d ‘water and other provviste.L’Ordine / according to international law, reported that he would give permission only four ships at a time to enter the harbor. This was ‘interpreted as a rejection, SO’ was the anciata invasione.Il the prediction was to the detriment of the Order as several riders sympathized General Francese.C’erano also spies in the ranks of the Knights stessi.In few hours Order Chapter ‘, and by Napoleon’ triumphantly in Valletta.Durante six days Napoleon in Malta, emano ‘a number of regulations, some of which the Maltese could not accettare.Egli had promised the Maltese and the Church leaders to respect their diritti.Ciononostante will immediately take back these promesse.Il September 2, 1798, the Maltese revolted, Quest’insurrezione start ‘in Rabat, and two days later I was under the control of Mdina Maltesi.Questi body block meant that French troops in Valletta and fortifications porto.Fu asked for help from the Monarch of the Two Sicilies, and the British and Portuguese ships were sent to give soccorso.L’assedio but ‘would last two years and untold suffering to the besieged and besiegers until’ the French and the British took capitalarono possession of Malta.


The Islands were taken from England to their strategic importance. The British fleet find ‘Port Grande and the excellent facilities nearby for their needs. In these installations were added other over the years. The small arsenal of the Order was expanded and new sites were built. The port Grande became the port of origin of the British fleet of the Greek War of Independence Mediterraneo.Durante in the nineteenth century, the combined fleets of France and Great Britain made use of port services. This I create ‘many highly rated’ work and made the authorities’ awareness of the need to build a new hospital ship. During the Crimean War, many Allied troops went to Malta, which reveal a stopover excellent for advanced eastward. During the First World War Malta was nicknamed ‘the sick bay of the Mediterranean’, for hospital services which met the allied troops in need of medication and health recovery after several battles in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Second World War was a very different story.


Now the planes, which were used in battles, had become essential parts of the scenario bellico.Attacchi planes were possible, and the islands were not spared. The day after the declaration of war against Britain and its allies by dell’Ighilterra and its allies by fascist (under the dictator Mussolini), the islands were attacked. Cosi ‘began in 1940 according to the Great Siege of Malta that protasse until 1943 when the Italian fleet chapter’ in the ports of Malta. The war had caused much suffering and substantial property damage, especially in the area around the Grand Harbour. Entire families were able to survive throughout the period of the War in Shelters underground excavated in various bastions of cavalieri.Nel 1942 in Malta and its people was conferred

george crossthe prestigious George Cross by King George VI in recognition of the courage of the island. This honor and ‘was also recognized by successive Maltese governments and the George Cross is part of the national flag. There was a general lack of supplies, while the armed forces had few remaining supplies. The fuel and ammunition were scarce that the ammunition were rationed. Already there was talk of an imminent capitalazione. In London he made plans to send stocks in the hope that the islands resisted for another three months if the convoy managed to reach it. Although many ships were sunk during the trip from Gibraltar to Malta, five arrived at their destination. This convoy, officially known as Operation Pedastal, sign ‘a turning point of the war for Malta. Following more ‘convoys entered the harbor, with more’ food supplies and ammunition. A year later the Maltese islands parties’ invasion of Sicily.


malta_veduta_aerea_ii_guerra_mondiale, 3053The political climate had changed dramatically .I Maltese government claimed a more ‘representative and a constitution more’ Liberal. There was also the work of reconstruction of houses collapsed or damaged by air raids. Meanwhile England already planned to reduce its bases abroad, which would have adversely affected the local economy. The different governments Maltese undertook to industrialize the island, and to give new impetus to the tourism industry. The political work would bring the granting of Independence from England on September 21, 1964. The British bases remained in Malta, since there was still the Cold War, and air services, military and naval island were considered very important. On 13 December 1974 Malta was proclaimed republic in the Commonwealth, for which you and kept the connection with England. Five more years ‘later, March 31, 1979, there was’ the final closure of the British base in Malta. For the first time, no foreign troops was more ‘on Maltese soil.

Malta and now a member of many international organizations, including the United Nations and the Commonwealth. In 1989, the American president George Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev closed the ugly chapter of the Cold War collision of a warship in the harbor of Marsaxlokk. Since May 2004, Malta is part of the European Union.