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Malta History

Malta - national flagMalta - national flag

The flag was officially adopted in 1964. White and red in vertical stripes are Malta's original flag, which is said to go back to the Norman Count Roger I in the 1000's. For bravery during World War II, the island was awarded the George Cross in 1943. The following year, the cross was placed in the flag in a blue field in the upper left corner. At the independence in 1964, the blue field was removed and the cross got a red border.

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Malta - prehistory

The oldest traces of humans are from approximately 5000 BC, when peasants immigrated from Sicily. Malta developed a distinctive Neolithic culture with the world's oldest stone-built temples. Their construction began approximately 3600 BC with rather small temples with three-leaf clover-shaped ground plan built of smaller stones. The architecture was rapidly developed, and temples of impressive dimensions were erected. A total of 16 temples are known. The largest, Ġgantija on Gozo from approximately 3300 BC, has added to the three-leaf clover form another couple of semicircular spaces. It appears as two five-leaf clover-shaped temple parts that open onto a 50 m wide façade. The walls are preserved to a height of 7 m and are built of ton-heavy stones. Often the stones of the temples and stone-built altars are decorated with spiral patterns and reliefs of animals. Temple art also includes figures of fat women, a nearly 3 m high stone sculpture from Tarxien, as well as phallus figures. The tombs of the temple people were rock tombs; at Ħal Saflieni near Tarxien, the tombs are designed to be almost a replica of a temple with carved portals. At Brochtorrf's Circle on Gozo, temple-like rooms were built adjacent to burial caves, where rituals were performed with the bones of the deceased. approximately 2500 BC the temple period ended with the arrival of a new people who used copper and bronze for weapons and tools, and who burned the dead. Burial urns were placed in burial sites, in the partially fulfilled ruins of the Tarxien Temple. Later in the Bronze Age, approximately 1500-700 BC, fortified settlements were built on high plateaus. Best preserved is Borġ-in-Nadur with remnants of giant walls; Mycenaean pottery has also been found here.

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Malta - history

Malta, ancient Melita, became approximately 1000 BC a Phoenician colony and later came under the rule of the Carthaginians for 218 BC. during the 2nd Punic War to be incorporated under the Roman province of Sicily. Today, ruins of Roman villas testify to this period. When Paul was taken prisoner to Rome, the ship suffered shipwreck and ran aground in Malta; here Paul had to stay over the winter (Acts 27: 27-28, 12).

Malta History

In 454 Malta was conquered by the Vandals, 494 by the Goths, 534 by the Byzantines and 870 by the Arabs. The Byzantines and the Arabs in particular came to influence cultural development. In 1091, the Normans conquered Malta and reintroduced Christianity. Malta later came into the hands of German, French and Spanish rulers until 1530, when Emperor Charles V handed it over to the Johannites, now known as the Maltese Knights. The order controlled Malta for several centuries, and in 1565 Malta resisted an attack from a large Ottoman fleet. In 1566, Valletta was founded as a strong fortress. On his way to Egypt, Napoleon I conquered Malta in 1798, and the Knights of the Order left the place.

From 1800 Malta came under the protection of Great Britain and from 1814 was a crown colony. During the 1800's. a language dispute left its mark on the relationship between the Maltese people and the British, who demanded that English be used in schools and courts. With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Malta gained greater strategic importance and experienced strong economic growth. Around 1900, the population had increased to approximately 200,000, and the demand for self-government grew. During World War I, the island received many wounded from the fighting; after the war an extensive economic crisis occurred. From 1921, Malta had periodically limited self-government.

During World War II, Malta was an important British naval base and was destroyed numerous times by Italian and German airstrikes. In 1947 the islands gained autonomy, and in 1964 Malta was declared an independent state under the Commonwealth. The liberation from Britain and the gradual British withdrawal created major economic problems.

The Nationalist Party, which was in power until 1971, pursued a West-friendly policy, but when the Labor Party came to power under Dom Mintoff in 1971, this was changed to an official non-aligned policy, and contact was made with e.g. Algeria, Libya and China. Malta was transformed into a republic in 1974, and the British naval base finally closed in 1979. The Nationalist Party was in power again in 1987-96, but the Labor Party won the election in 1996, and immediately thereafter an application for EU membership was suspended and Malta withdrawn. of NATO Partnership Partnership for Peace.

The 1998 election was won by the Nationalist Party, which resubmitted the EU application. Malta was invited to join the EU in 2002; a referendum the following year yielded a 53% majority for membership, and in May 2004 the country joined the EU. Malta joined the euro on 1 January 2008. Following EU membership, the country has had increasing problems with illegal immigration, especially from North Africa.

In the 2008 election, the Nationalist Party won an extremely narrow victory, and under the leadership of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi (b. 1953), the two-party system continued. In 2009, Malta got a new president: George Abela (b. 1948).

 

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