About Malta: Historical Facts

Malta was ruled by several empires throughout history, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights Templars, French, and finally the British. Here are the top 5 historical facts about Malta.


Malta was once part of mainland Europe

Around 17,000 years ago, the Maltese islands were the mountain tops of one landmass which connected current-day Malta to Sicily and possibly mainland Italy.

Malta’s Megalithic temples are older than Stonehenge

Malta boasts remains of Megalithic temples.  They are reputed to be the oldest in the world, beating Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids to the honour!

Malta’s name might have come from the Greek word Melite

Malta’s name origins are not 100% certain though it has been often implied that the Greeks called it Melite (honey-sweet), a possible reference to the honey produced from the endemic spieces of bees found Malta.

The Knights of St John

The Knights of St John of Jerusalem, also known as the Knights of were given control over Malta in 1530 by Charles V of Spain.  In 1565 they successfully defended the island against the Ottomans in the Great Siege, for which they left an indelible mark on Maltese history.  The eight point crusade cross, associated with the Knights, eventually became known as the Maltese cross.   Their departure in 1798 when Napoleon’s advancement forced them to leave.

11 Foreign Rulers in 2 Millenia

During the last two millenia, Malta has known 11 foreign rulers that have each left their own legacy behind.  Their colonisation have left various traces around the Maltese islands.  Malta’s last rulers were the British. Malta, although still part of the British Commonwealth gained independence in 1964 and became a republic in 1974.  Malta joined the European Union in 2004.