Context of Malta

Malta ( (listen) MOL-tə, UK also MAWL-tə, Maltese: [ˈmɐːltɐ]), officially the Republic of Malta (Maltese: Repubblika ta' Malta [rɛˈpʊbːlɪkɐ tɐ ˈmɐːltɐ]), is an island country in the Mediterranean Sea. It consists of an archipelago, between Italy and Libya, and is part of Southern Europe. It lies 80 km (50 mi) south of Sicily (Italy), 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia, and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya. The official languages are Maltese and English, and 66% of the current Maltes...Read more

Malta ( (listen) MOL-tə, UK also MAWL-tə, Maltese: [ˈmɐːltɐ]), officially the Republic of Malta (Maltese: Repubblika ta' Malta [rɛˈpʊbːlɪkɐ tɐ ˈmɐːltɐ]), is an island country in the Mediterranean Sea. It consists of an archipelago, between Italy and Libya, and is part of Southern Europe. It lies 80 km (50 mi) south of Sicily (Italy), 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia, and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya. The official languages are Maltese and English, and 66% of the current Maltese population is at least conversational in the Italian language.

Malta has been inhabited since approximately 5900 BC. Its location in the centre of the Mediterranean has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, with a succession of powers having contested and ruled the islands, including the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of St. John, French, and British, amongst others.

With a population of about 516,000 over an area of 316 km2 (122 sq mi), Malta is the world's tenth-smallest country by area and fourth most densely populated sovereign country. Its capital is Valletta, which is the smallest national capital in the European Union by area and population. According to the data from 2020 by Eurostat, the Functional Urban Area and metropolitan region covered the whole island and has a population of 480,134, and according to the United Nations, ESPON and EU Commission, "the whole territory of Malta constitutes a single urban region". Malta increasingly is referred to as a city-state, and also listed in rankings concerning cities or metropolitan areas.

Malta became a British colony in 1813, serving as a way station for ships and the headquarters for the British Mediterranean Fleet. It was besieged by the Axis powers during World War II and was an important Allied base for operations in North Africa and the Mediterranean. The British parliament passed the Malta Independence Act in 1964, giving Malta independence from the United Kingdom as the State of Malta, with Elizabeth II as its queen. The country became a republic in 1974. It has been a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations since independence, and joined the European Union in 2004; it became part of the eurozone monetary union in 2008.

Malta has had Christians since the time of Early Christianity, though was predominantly Muslim while under Arab rule, at which time Christians were tolerated. Muslim rule ended with the Norman invasion of Malta by Roger I in 1091. Today, Catholicism is the state religion, but the Constitution of Malta guarantees freedom of conscience and religious worship. The economy of Malta is heavily reliant on tourism, and the country promotes itself as a Mediterranean tourist destination with its warmer climate compared to the rest of Europe, numerous recreational areas, and architectural and historical monuments, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, Valletta, and seven megalithic temples which are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.

More about Malta

Basic information
  • Calling code +356
  • Internet domain .mt
  • Mains voltage 230V/50Hz
  • Democracy index 7.68
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 465292
  • Area 316
  • Driving side left
History
  • Malta has been inhabited from around 5900 BC,[1] since the arrival of settlers originating from European Neolithic agriculturalists.[2] A significant prehistoric Neolithic culture marked by Megalithic structures, which date back to c. 3600 BC, existed on the islands, as evidenced by the temples of Bugibba, Mnajdra, Ggantija and others. The Phoenicians colonised Malta between 800 and 700 BC, bringing their Semitic language and culture.[3] They used the islands as an outpost from which they expanded sea explorations and trade in the Mediterranean until their successors, the Carthaginians, were ousted by the Romans in 216 BC with the help of the Maltese inhabitants, under whom Malta became a municipium.[4]

    ...Read more

    Malta has been inhabited from around 5900 BC,[1] since the arrival of settlers originating from European Neolithic agriculturalists.[2] A significant prehistoric Neolithic culture marked by Megalithic structures, which date back to c. 3600 BC, existed on the islands, as evidenced by the temples of Bugibba, Mnajdra, Ggantija and others. The Phoenicians colonised Malta between 800 and 700 BC, bringing their Semitic language and culture.[3] They used the islands as an outpost from which they expanded sea explorations and trade in the Mediterranean until their successors, the Carthaginians, were ousted by the Romans in 216 BC with the help of the Maltese inhabitants, under whom Malta became a municipium.[4]

     
    The 1565 Siege of Malta: The bombardment of the bastion of Castille.

    After a probable sack by the Vandals,[5] Malta fell under Byzantine rule (4th to 9th century) and the islands were then invaded by the Aghlabids in AD 870. The fate of the population after the Arab invasion is unclear but it seems the islands may have been repopulated at the beginning of the second millennium by settlers from Arab-ruled Sicily who spoke Siculo-Arabic.[6]

    The Muslim rule was ended by the Normans who conquered the island in 1091. The islands were completely re-Christianised by 1249.[7] The islands were part of the Kingdom of Sicily until 1530 and were briefly controlled by the Capetian House of Anjou. In 1530, Charles V of Spain gave the Maltese islands to the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in perpetual lease.

    The French under Napoleon took hold of the Maltese islands in 1798, although with the aid of the British the Maltese were able to oust French control two years later. The inhabitants subsequently asked Britain to assume sovereignty over the islands under the conditions laid out in a Declaration of Rights,[8] stating that "his Majesty has no right to cede these Islands to any power...if he chooses to withdraw his protection, and abandon his sovereignty, the right of electing another sovereign, or of the governing of these Islands, belongs to us, the inhabitants and aborigines alone, and without control." As part of the Treaty of Paris in 1814, Malta became a British colony. It ultimately rejected an attempted integration with the United Kingdom in 1956 after the British proved reluctant to integrate.

    Malta became independent on 21 September 1964 (Independence Day). Under its 1964 constitution, Malta initially retained Elizabeth II as queen, with a governor-general exercising authority on her behalf. On 13 December 1974 (Republic Day), it became a republic within the Commonwealth, with the President as head of state. On 31 March 1979, Malta saw the withdrawal of the last British troops and the Royal Navy from Malta. This day is known as Freedom Day, and Malta declared itself as a neutral and non-aligned state. Malta joined the European Union on 1 May 2004, and joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2008.[9]

    Prehistory

    Pottery found by archaeologists at the Skorba Temples resembles that found in Italy, and suggests that the Maltese islands were first settled in 5200 BC mainly by Stone Age hunters or farmers who had arrived from the Italian island of Sicily, possibly the Sicani. The extinction of the dwarf hippos, giant swans and dwarf elephants has been linked to the earliest arrival of humans on Malta.[10] Prehistoric farming settlements dating to the Early Neolithic period were discovered in open areas and also in caves, such as Għar Dalam.[11]

    The Sicani were the only tribe known to have inhabited the island at this time[12][13] and are generally regarded as being closely related to the Iberians.[14] The population on Malta grew cereals, raised livestock and, in common with other ancient Mediterranean cultures, worshiped a fertility figure represented in Maltese prehistoric artifacts exhibiting the proportions seen in similar statuettes, including the Venus of Willendorf.[15]

     
    Ġgantija megalithic temple complex
     
    The temple complex of Mnajdra

    Pottery from the Għar Dalam phase is similar to pottery found in Agrigento, Sicily. A culture of megalithic temple builders then either supplanted or arose from this early period. Around the time of 3500 BC, these people built some of the oldest existing free-standing structures in the world in the form of the megalithic Ġgantija temples on Gozo;[16] other early temples include those at Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra.[17][18][19]

    The temples have distinctive architecture, typically a complex trefoil design, and were used from 4000 to 2500 BC. Animal bones and a knife found behind a removable altar stone suggest that temple rituals included animal sacrifice. Tentative information suggests that the sacrifices were made to the goddess of fertility, whose statue is now in the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.[20] The culture apparently disappeared from the Maltese Islands around 2500 BC. Archaeologists speculate that the temple builders fell victim to famine or disease, but this is not certain.

    Another archaeological feature of the Maltese Islands often attributed to these ancient builders is equidistant uniform grooves dubbed "cart tracks" or "cart ruts" which can be found in several locations throughout the islands, with the most prominent being those found in Misraħ Għar il-Kbir, which is informally known as "Clapham Junction". These may have been caused by wooden-wheeled carts eroding soft limestone.[21][22]

    After 2500 BC, the Maltese Islands were depopulated for several decades until the arrival of a new influx of Bronze Age immigrants, a culture that cremated its dead and introduced smaller megalithic structures called dolmens to Malta.[23] In most cases, there are small chambers here, with the cover made of a large slab placed on upright stones. They are claimed to belong to a population certainly different from that which built the previous megalithic temples. It is presumed the population arrived from Sicily because of the similarity of Maltese dolmens to some small constructions found on the largest island of the Mediterranean sea.[24]

    Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans
     
    The lands which comprise modern-day Malta, were a part of the Byzantine Empire (The empire in 555 under Justinian the Great, at its greatest extent since the fall of the Western Roman Empire (its vassals in pink))

    Phoenician traders[25] colonised the islands sometime after 1000 BC[26] as a stop on their trade routes from the eastern Mediterranean to Cornwall, joining the natives on the island.[27] The Phoenicians inhabited the area now known as Mdina, and its surrounding town of Rabat, which they called Maleth.[28][29] The Romans, who also much later inhabited Mdina, referred to it (and the island) as Melita.[30]

     
    Roman mosaic from the Domvs Romana

    After the fall of Phoenicia in 332 BC, the area came under the control of Carthage, a former Phoenician colony.[26][31] During this time the people on Malta mainly cultivated olives and carob and produced textiles.[31]

    During the First Punic War, the island was conquered after harsh fighting by Marcus Atilius Regulus.[32] After the failure of his expedition, the island fell back in the hands of Carthage, only to be conquered again in 218 BC, during the Second Punic War, by Roman Consul Tiberius Sempronius Longus.[32] After that, Malta became Foederata Civitas, a designation that meant it was exempt from paying tribute or the rule of Roman law, and fell within the jurisdiction of the province of Sicily.[30] Punic influence, however, remained vibrant on the islands with the famous Cippi of Melqart, pivotal in deciphering the Punic language, dedicated in the 2nd century BC.[33][34] Also the local Roman coinage, which ceased in the 1st century BC,[35] indicates the slow pace of the island's Romanization, since the last locally minted coins still bear inscriptions in Ancient Greek on the obverse (like "ΜΕΛΙΤΑΙΩ", meaning "of the Maltese") and Punic motifs, showing the resistance of the Greek and Punic cultures.[36]

    In the 1st century BC, Roman Senator and orator Cicero commented on the importance of the Temple of Juno, and on the extravagant behaviour of the Roman governor of Sicily, Verres.[37] During the 1st century BC the island was mentioned by Pliny the Elder and Diodorus Siculus: the latter praised its harbours, the wealth of its inhabitants, its lavishly decorated houses and the quality of its textile products. In the 2nd century, Emperor Hadrian (r. 117–38) upgraded the status of Malta to municipium or free town: the island local affairs were administered by four quattuorviri iuri dicundo and a municipal senate, while a Roman procurator, living in Mdina, represented the proconsul of Sicily.[32] In 58 AD, Paul the Apostle was washed up on the islands together with Luke the Evangelist after their ship was wrecked on the islands.[32] Paul the Apostle remained on the islands for three months, preaching the Christian faith.[32] The island is mentioned at the Acts of the Apostles as Melitene (Greek: Μελιτήνη).[38]

    In 395, when the Roman Empire was divided for the last time at the death of Theodosius I, Malta, following Sicily, fell under the control of the Western Roman Empire.[39] During the Migration Period as the Western Roman Empire declined, Malta came under attack and was conquered or occupied a number of times.[35] From 454 to 464 the islands were subdued by the Vandals, and after 464 by the Ostrogoths.[32] In 533 Belisarius, on his way to conquer the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa, reunited the islands under Imperial (Eastern) rule.[32] Little is known about the Byzantine rule in Malta: the island depended on the theme of Sicily and had Greek Governors and a small Greek garrison.[32] While the bulk of population continued to be constituted by the old, Latinized dwellers, during this period its religious allegiance oscillated between the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople.[32] The Byzantine rule introduced Greek families to the Maltese collective.[40] Malta remained under the Byzantine Empire until 870, when it fell to the Arabs.[32][41]

    Arab period and the Middle Ages
     
    The Maymūnah Stone, a Roman period marble stone, was reused as a 12th-century tombstone believed to have been found in Gozo.

    Malta became involved in the Arab–Byzantine wars, and the conquest of Malta is closely linked with that of Sicily that began in 827 after Admiral Euphemius' betrayal of his fellow Byzantines, requesting that the Aghlabids invade the island.[42] The Muslim chronicler and geographer al-Himyari recounts that in 870, following a violent struggle against the defending Byzantines, the Arab invaders, first led by Halaf al-Hadim, and later by Sawada ibn Muhammad,[43] looted and pillaged the island, destroying the most important buildings, and leaving it practically uninhabited until it was recolonised by the Arabs from Sicily in 1048–1049.[43] It is uncertain whether this new settlement took place as a consequence of demographic expansion in Sicily, as a result of a higher standard of living in Sicily (in which case the recolonisation may have taken place a few decades earlier), or as a result of civil war which broke out among the Arab rulers of Sicily in 1038.[44] The Arab Agricultural Revolution introduced new irrigation, some fruits and cotton, and the Siculo-Arabic language was adopted on the island from Sicily; it would eventually evolve into the Maltese language.[45]

    Norman conquest
     
    Roger I of Sicily returned Malta to Christian rule

    The Normans attacked Malta in 1091, as part of their conquest of Sicily.[46] The Norman leader, Roger I of Sicily, was welcomed by Christian captives.[30] The notion that Count Roger I reportedly tore off a portion of his checkered red-and-white banner and presented it to the Maltese in gratitude for having fought on his behalf, forming the basis of the modern flag of Malta, is founded in myth.[30][47]

    Malta became part of the newly formed Kingdom of Sicily, which also covered the island of Sicily and the southern half of the Italian Peninsula.[30] The Catholic Church was reinstated as the state religion, with Malta under the See of Palermo, and some Norman architecture sprang up around Malta, especially in its ancient capital Mdina.[30] King Tancred made Malta a fief of the kingdom and installed a count of Malta in 1192. As the islands were much desired due to their strategic importance, it was during this time that the men of Malta were militarised to fend off attempted conquest; early Counts were skilled Genoese privateers.[30]

    The kingdom passed on to the Hohenstaufen dynasty from 1194 until 1266. During this period, when Emperor Frederick II began to reorganise his Sicilian kingdom, Western culture and religion began to exert their influence more intensely.[48] Malta was declared a county and a marquisate, but its trade was totally ruined. For a long time it remained solely a fortified garrison.[49]

    A mass expulsion of Arabs occurred in 1224, and the entire Christian male population of Celano in Abruzzo was deported to Malta in the same year.[30] In 1249 Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, decreed that all remaining Muslims be expelled from Malta[50] or compelled to convert.[51][52]

    For a brief period, the kingdom passed to the Capetian House of Anjou,[53] but high taxes made the dynasty unpopular in Malta, due in part to Charles of Anjou's war against the Republic of Genoa, and the island of Gozo was sacked in 1275.[30]

    Crown of Aragon rule and the Knights of Malta
     
    Flag of the Aragonese Kingdom of Sicily

    Malta was ruled by the House of Barcelona, the ruling dynasty of the Crown of Aragon, from 1282 to 1409,[54] with the Aragonese aiding the Maltese insurgents in the Sicilian Vespers in the naval battle in Grand Harbour in 1283.[55]

    Relatives of the Kings of Aragon ruled the island until 1409 when it formally passed to the Crown of Aragon. Early on in the Aragonese ascendancy, the sons of the monarchs received the title Count of Malta. During this time much of the local nobility was created. By 1397, however, the bearing of the comital title reverted to a feudal basis, with two families fighting over the distinction, which caused some conflict. This led King Martin I of Sicily to abolish the title. The dispute over the title returned when the title was reinstated a few years later and the Maltese, led by the local nobility, rose up against Count Gonsalvo Monroy.[30] Although they opposed the Count, the Maltese voiced their loyalty to the Sicilian Crown, which so impressed King Alfonso that he did not punish the people for their rebellion. Instead, he promised never to grant the title to a third party and incorporated it back into the crown. The city of Mdina was given the title of Città Notabile as a result of this sequence of events.[30]

     
    St. Paul's Cathedral, Mdina built in the Baroque style

    On 23 March 1530,[56] Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, gave the islands to the Knights Hospitaller under the leadership of Frenchman Philippe Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, Grand Master of the Order,[57][58] in perpetual lease for which they had to pay an annual tribute of a single Maltese Falcon.[59][60][61][62][63][64][65] These knights, a military religious order also known as the Order of St John and later as the Knights of Malta, had been driven out of Rhodes by the Ottoman Empire in 1522.[66]

    The Knights Hospitaller were the rulers of Malta and Gozo between 1530 and 1798.[67] During this period, the strategic and military importance of the island grew greatly as the small yet efficient fleet of the Order of Saint John launched their attacks from this new base targeting the shipping lanes of the Ottoman territories around the Mediterranean Sea.[67][68]

    In 1551, the population of the island of Gozo (around 5,000 people) were enslaved by Barbary pirates and taken to the Barbary Coast in North Africa.[69]

     
    The Beheading of Saint John, by Caravaggio. Oil on canvas, 361 cm × 520 cm (142.13 in × 204.72 in). Oratory of the Co-Cathedral.

    The knights, led by Frenchman Jean Parisot de Valette, Grand Master of the Order, withstood the Great Siege of Malta by the Ottomans in 1565.[58] The knights, with the help of Spanish and Maltese forces, were victorious and repelled the attack. Speaking of the battle Voltaire said, "Nothing is better known than the siege of Malta."[70][71] After the siege they decided to increase Malta's fortifications, particularly in the inner-harbour area, where the new city of Valletta, named in honour of Valette, was built. They also established watchtowers along the coasts – the Wignacourt, Lascaris and De Redin towers – named after the Grand Masters who ordered the work. The Knights' presence on the island saw the completion of many architectural and cultural projects, including the embellishment of Città Vittoriosa (modern Birgu), the construction of new cities including Città Rohan (modern Ħaż-Żebbuġ) . Ħaż-Żebbuġ is one of the oldest cities of Malta, it also has one of the largest squares of Malta.

    French period and British conquest

    The Knights' reign ended when Napoleon captured Malta on his way to Egypt during the French Revolutionary Wars in 1798. Over the years preceding Napoleon's capture of the islands, the power of the Knights had declined and the Order had become unpopular. Napoleon's fleet arrived in 1798, en route to his expedition of Egypt. Napoleon's intent was to resupply his ships in water, but he was not above demanding a tribute ; as his general Belliard noted in his journal: "I know not whether we shall take in a supply of water at Malta en passant, or whether we shall call for a forced loan there, to cover our travelling expenses, for, generally speaking, our visits are not usually disinterested".[72]

     
    Bust of Bonaparte at Palazzo Parisio in Valletta

    During 12–18 June 1798, Napoleon resided at the Palazzo Parisio in Valletta.[73][74][75] He reformed national administration with the creation of a Government Commission, twelve municipalities, a public finance administration, the abolition of all feudal rights and privileges, the abolition of slavery and the granting of freedom to all Turkish and Jewish slaves.[76][77] On the judicial level, a family code was framed and twelve judges were nominated. Public education was organised along principles laid down by Bonaparte himself, providing for primary and secondary education.[77][78] He then sailed for Egypt leaving a substantial garrison in Malta.[79]

    The French forces left behind became unpopular with the Maltese, due particularly to the French forces' hostility towards Catholicism and pillaging of local churches to fund Napoleon's war efforts. French financial and religious policies so angered the Maltese that they rebelled, forcing the French to depart. Great Britain, along with the Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of Sicily, sent ammunition and aid to the Maltese, and Britain also sent its navy, which blockaded the islands.[77]

    On 28 October 1798, Captain Sir Alexander Ball successfully completed negotiations with the French garrison on Gozo, the 217 French soldiers there agreeing to surrender without a fight and transferring the island to the British. The British transferred the island to the locals that day, and it was administered by Archpriest Saverio Cassar on behalf of Ferdinand III of Sicily. Gozo remained independent until Cassar was removed from power by the British in 1801.[80]

    General Claude-Henri Belgrand de Vaubois surrendered his French forces in 1800.[77] Maltese leaders presented the main island to Sir Alexander Ball, asking that the island become a British Dominion. The Maltese people created a Declaration of Rights in which they agreed to come "under the protection and sovereignty of the King of the free people, His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland". The Declaration also stated that "his Majesty has no right to cede these Islands to any power...if he chooses to withdraw his protection, and abandon his sovereignty, the right of electing another sovereign, or of the governing of these Islands, belongs to us, the inhabitants and aborigines alone, and without control."[77][8]

    British Empire and the Second World War
     
    The heavily bomb-damaged Kingsway (now Republic Street) in Valletta during the siege of Malta, 1942

    In 1814, as part of the Treaty of Paris,[77][81] Malta officially became a part of the British Empire and was used as a shipping way-station and fleet headquarters. After the Suez Canal opened in 1869, Malta's position halfway between the Strait of Gibraltar and Egypt proved to be its main asset, and it was considered an important stop on the way to India, a central trade route for the British.

    A Turkish Military Cemetery was commissioned by Sultan Abdul Aziz and built between 1873 and 1874 for the fallen Ottoman soldiers of the Great Siege of Malta.

    Between 1915 and 1918, during the First World War, Malta became known as the Nurse of the Mediterranean due to the large number of wounded soldiers who were accommodated in Malta.[82] In 1919, British troops fired into a crowd protesting against new taxes, killing four. The event, known as Sette Giugno (Italian for 7 June), is commemorated every year and is one of five National Days.[83][84]

    Before the Second World War, Valletta was the location of the Royal Navy's Mediterranean Fleet's headquarters; however, despite Winston Churchill's objections,[85] the command was moved to Alexandria, Egypt, in April 1937 out of fear that it was too susceptible to air attacks from Europe.[85][86][87]

    During the Second World War, Malta played an important role for the Allies; being a British colony, situated close to Sicily and the Axis shipping lanes, Malta was bombarded by the Italian and German air forces. Malta was used by the British to launch attacks on the Italian Navy and had a submarine base. It was also used as a listening post, intercepting German radio messages including Enigma traffic.[88] The bravery of the Maltese people during the second siege of Malta moved King George VI to award the George Cross to Malta on a collective basis on 15 April 1942 "to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history". Some historians argue that the award caused Britain to incur disproportionate losses in defending Malta, as British credibility would have suffered if Malta had surrendered, as British forces in Singapore had done.[89] A depiction of the George Cross now appears in the upper hoist corner of the Flag of Malta and on the country's arms. The collective award remained unique until April 1999, when the Royal Ulster Constabulary became the second recipient of a collective George Cross.[90]

    Independence and Republic
     
    Monument to the independence of Malta in Floriana
     
    Malta joined the European Union in 2004 and signed the Lisbon Treaty in 2007.

    Malta achieved its independence as the State of Malta on 21 September 1964 (Independence Day) after intense negotiations with the United Kingdom, led by Maltese Prime Minister George Borġ Olivier. Under its 1964 constitution, Malta initially retained Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Malta and thus head of state, with a governor-general exercising executive authority on her behalf. In 1971, the Malta Labour Party led by Dom Mintoff won the general elections, resulting in Malta declaring itself a republic on 13 December 1974 (Republic Day) within the Commonwealth, with a president as head of state. A defence agreement was signed soon after independence, and after being re-negotiated in 1972, expired on 31 March 1979 (Freedom Day).[91] Upon its expiry, the British base closed down and all lands formerly controlled by the British on the island were given up to the Maltese government.[92] In the aftermath of the departure of the remaining British troops from the island in 1979 the country intensified its participation in the Non-Aligned Movement.

    Malta adopted a policy of neutrality in 1980.[93] In 1989, Malta was the venue of a summit between US President George H. W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, their first face-to-face encounter, which signalled the end of the Cold War.[94]

    On 16 July 1990, Malta, through its foreign minister, Guido de Marco, applied to join the European Union.[95] After tough negotiations, a referendum was held on 8 March 2003, which resulted in a favourable vote.[96] General Elections held on 12 April 2003, gave a clear mandate to the Prime Minister, Eddie Fenech Adami, to sign the treaty of accession to the European Union on 16 April 2003 in Athens, Greece.[97]

    Malta joined the European Union on 1 May 2004.[98] Following the European Council of 21–22 June 2007, Malta joined the eurozone on 1 January 2008.[99]

    ^ "700 years added to Malta's history". Times of Malta. Retrieved 11 January 2023. ^ Ariano, Bruno; Mattiangeli, Valeria; Breslin, Emily M.; Parkinson, Eóin W.; McLaughlin, T. Rowan; Thompson, Jess E.; Power, Ronika K.; Stock, Jay T.; Mercieca-Spiteri, Bernardette; Stoddart, Simon; Malone, Caroline (20 June 2022). "Ancient Maltese genomes and the genetic geography of Neolithic Europe". Current Biology. 32 (12): 2668–2680.e6. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2022.04.069. ISSN 0960-9822. PMC 9245899. PMID 35588742. ^ Bonanno 2005, p.22 ^ Dennis Angelo Castillo (2006). The Maltese Cross A Strategic History of Malta. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-313-32329-4. ^ Victor Paul Borg (2001). Malta and Gozo. Rough Guides. p. 331. ISBN 978-1-85828-680-8. ^ So who are the 'real' Maltese. Archived from the original on 12 March 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2017. There's a gap between 800 and 1200 where there is no record of civilisation. It doesn't mean the place was completely uninhabited. There may have been a few people living here and there, but not much……..The Arab influence on the Maltese language is not a result of Arab rule in Malta, Prof. Felice said. The influence is probably indirect, since the Arabs raided the island and left no-one behind, except for a few people. There are no records of civilisation of any kind at the time. The kind of Arabic used in the Maltese language is most likely derived from the language spoken by those that repopulated the island from Sicily in the early second millennium; it is known as Siculo-Arab. The Maltese are mostly descendants of these people. ^ The origin of the Maltese surnames. Ibn Khaldun puts the expulsion of Islam from the Maltese Islands to the year 1249. It is not clear what actually happened then, except that the Maltese language, derived from Arabic, certainly survived. 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