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MALTA & GOZO
HISTORY IN BRIEF

DATE EVENT
C 5th Millenium to C 3000 BC The first inhabitants of the islands of Malta are believed to have crossed over from Sicily. They brought with them their simple tools, corn seeds and domestic animals. These Neolithic settlers are believed to have traded with the Lipari Islands (North of Sicily), Pantelleria island (to the West of Malta) and Sicily itself for flint, stone and volcanic material that was not naturally available on Malta.
C 3000 to C 2000-1800 BC Copper age Malta is characterised by the temple builders. Mnajdra & Hagar Qim, The Hypogeum, The Tarxien Temples and others. The Ggantija Temples date to 3600-3200 BC and are believed to be the oldest known man-made structure anywhere in the world.
C 2000-1800 to C 800 BC In the Bronze age, Malta probably experienced a cultural shift from the development of long established local cultures to what is believed to be the introduction of cultures by separate colonisations of Malta from elsewhere.
C 800 BC Arrival of the Phoenicians who established the first Punic colony.
C 600 BC Malta is taken over by Carthage.
C 257 BC Start of the first Roman attacks on Carthagenian Malta.
C 218 BC Romans launch an invasion of Malta from Marsala in Sicily, wrench control from the Carthagenians and establish the island as an Imperial Province.
C 200 BC Malta given the status of Municipium with autonomy for local government. During this era Malta is known in the Roman world for the production of textiles, in particular, sail cloth, and for the production of honey (possibly giving Malta its present name - deriving from the Latin name for honey).
60 AD St Paul is Shipwrecked on Malta on the way to Rome. Converts the island to Christianity and appoints first bishop of Malta, St Publius.
C 390 AD Malta falls under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Roman Empire based in Constantinople (Istanbul).
870 AD Malta falls to the Aghlabid Arabs invading from Sicily led by Admiral Ahmad bin-Umar also known as Habasi.
1090 The Normans under Count Roger invading from Sicily take the Maltese islands. Legend says that Count Roger tore off part of his flag and gave it to Malta, hence the origin of the White and Red Malta Flag.
1127 The Norman reconquest of Malta under Roger II. Malta is effectively annexed to Sicily.
1224 Fredrick II, grandson of Roger II expells the Arabs from Malta. The Latin population of Celano transposed to Malta.
1370 C Malta falls under the jurisdiction of Aragon. The islands have limited local self-government through the institution of the "Universita" but were often made a fiefdom of various governors.
1428 The Universita redeems the islands in perpetuity from fiefdom.
1429 Malta is sacked by corsairs from the Barbary coast.
1436 The ten principal settlements on Malta are raised to Parish status like Mdina and Birgu.
1530 Emperor Charles V gave Malta in perpetual sovereignty to the Order of St John of Jerusalem (The Knights of Malta) for the annual rent of one falcon to be presented to the Emperor's viceroy in Sicily.
July 1551 The Ottomans attack Gozo and cart off the entire population of 5000 into salvery in Tarhuna, Libya
July-September 1565 The Ottomans lay seige to Malta with 181 ships and 30,000 fighting men against a defence force of 600/700 Knights and 8,000/9,000 men. They are repulsed after a long summer of battles. The event is still commemorated today as Great Seige Day (8 September). Birgu is renamed Vittoriosa.
1566 Work commences on the building of the fortifications for the new city, Valletta.
1614 A strong Turkish attempt to land on the island is driven off.
1798 In transit to Egypt with 54,000 troops, Napoleon takes over the island with little resistance. The Knights were given three days to leave.
1800 The Maltese revolt against the French and sought British assistance. Fresh from the victory of the Battle of the Nile against Napoleon's forces, Nelson placed Capt. Alexander Ball in charge of blockading the 4000 strong French garrison in Valletta. Reinforced by Portuguese marines and later by 1500 British troops, the French were starved into surrender. Proposals to restore the Knights under Neapolitan or Russian protection was opposed by the Maltese who preferred British protection.
1814 Malta confirmed as a British Crown Colony at the Treaty of Paris.
1835 The first constitution of Malta is established giving the Maltese representation in the affairs of the islands. New constitutions were introduced in 1849, 1887 and 1903.
1921 A new constitution gave the Maltese full self-government in local affairs. The consitution did not work and was suspended in 1930, restored in 1932 and suspended again in 1933.
1940 The second world war catches Malta unprepared. In June, three Gladiator fighters on their own take on the Italian air force for three whole weeks.
1942 Rommel's advances in North Africa leaves Malta isolated with the nearest Allied bases in Gibraltar and Alexandria each 2000 miles away. Malta bravely fights on and in April is awarded the George Cross for bravery. The George Cross is incorporated into the National Flag. Montgomery's successes in Alamein (Egypt) eventually relieved the pressure on Malta and by the end of the year the invasion of Sicily was being planned at Fort St Angelo in Vittoriosa (Birgu) and the Phoenicia Hotel in Floriana.
September 1943 Following secret military talks in Sicily, a political armistace between the Allies and Italy is signed aboard the battleship H.M.S. Nelson in Grand Harbour. U.S.A. President Franklin D. Roosevelt visits the island and presents Malta with a Presidential Citation for bravery.
September 1947 Internal self-government is restored.
1959 The constitution is again suspended following long negotiations on Malta's integration with Britain fail due to, among other points, the problems of Social Security contributions and the religious differences.
September 1964 Malta gains independence from Britain. On Malta's request, Queen Elisabeth II of Britain also becomes Queen of Malta.
1974 Malta becomes a Republic. Keeps its status as a member of the Commonwealth.
1979 The British military establishment gives up its bases in Malta.
May 2004 Malta becomes a full member of the European Union.
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Created 15SEP96