GENERAL INFORMATION on MALTA


ancient statue (malta) The first thread of Malta's rich tapestry of history as sewn in Megalithic times. On the island of Gozo, the Temple of Ggantija dates from around 3600 BC. On the island of Malta, there are also monumental and rnysterious Neolithic Temples, confirmation that even in their most primitive forms culture, worship and community were at work on the Maltese islands.

No one knows what rought pioneering temple builders to Malta but their efforts are still standing in all their monolithic glory. After the early stirrings of civilisation, the Maltese islands became ever increasingly involved in Mediterranean history and events. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs and Normans all occupied Malta in their quest for domination. It was during the time of the Romans when St. Paul was shipwrecked on Malta that Christianity was introduced: the one influence which has endured above all others.

In 1530 Malta was ceded to the Order of the nights of St John of Jerusalem and they placed their distinctive mark on the islands. They stayed for more than two hundred and fifty years and built vast and imposing fortifications, palaces, churches and castles. The legacy of their grand and spectacular architecture can still be enjoyed today. Following in the footsteps of the Knights, Napoleon saw the strategic value of Malta and in 1798 annexed the island for France. His presence did not find avour for long with the Maltese who rose against the French and requested the protection of the British Crown, - an association which has remained strong even after 1964 when Malta achieved independence. As Malta moved into the European main stream and shed its fortress image tourism has made it an international meeting place.