Republic of Malta. It is located in the center of the Mediterranean Sea, about 90 km from the southern coast of Sicily, and together with Gozo and Comino, it forms the Maltese archipelago, a strategic point in the eastern Mediterranean. The Republic of Malta had its first independent government in 1961. In 1964 he joined the countries that make up the United Nations.
It achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and has been a Republic since 1974. Malta joined the European Community on 1 as maypole as 2004 and will be in 2007, when it changed its currency to the Euro, when their integration into Europe is a fact.
The arrival of the Phoenicians occurred around the year 1000 (BC), who christened the main island Malat, which means safe haven, which was their base for trade and for explorations across the Mediterranean Sea. In 736 (BC), the Greeks occupied the island, turning it into the Melita colony, although their presence was not very significant until the Hellenistic period. The Phoenicians had also established colonies at the same time in Cyprus, eastern Sicily, and North Africa.
The reason for the occupation is not only commercial, it is also strategic with respect to the Greek and Etruscan power. The islands later came under the control of Carthage (in 400 BC) after hostilities were declared with the Greeks. Malta has assumed its role of frontier between two other great powers when Alexander the Great makes his appearance in 264 BC.
Rome became interested in the islands and conquered them around 218 (BC) during the Second Punic War. The islands prospered under Roman rule and during that time they were considered a municipium and a feodorata civitas. Many remains of the Roman presence still exist, attesting to the close relationship between the Maltese and the Romans. Malta becomes a safe haven for the Roman fleet in winter allowing it to operate in the center of the Mediterranean at all times. In AD 60, the islands were visited by St. Paul, who is said in the Acts of the Apostles to have been shipwrecked off the coast in what is now called St. Paul’s Bay.
After a brief rule by the Byzantines in 533 according to the chronicles and a use for the fleet in different ports of Gozo and Malta, in addition to a probable looting by the Vandals, the islands were conquered by the Aglabis in 878, unusually more later than other areas of the Mediterranean coast such as Visigoth Hispania and this probably due to its isolation and the difficulty of reaching it by sea from Africa.
Arabic influence can be found in the modern Maltese language, a strongly Romanized language originally derived from vernacular Arabic. During this time its residents converted to Islam to avoid being enslaved. In 1090, the Arabs were finally replaced by the Normans of Sicily under Roger I, after Malta became Christian again, although a second expedition was necessary in 1127 for total control of the archipelago under Roger II.
It was at this time that the Maltese nobility was created. It still remains today, and there are 32 titles still in use, the oldest being the Barons of Djar il Bniet and Buqana. After the expulsion of the Muslims in 1248, the Arabic and Sicilian languages coexisted and Malta depended on various lords.
As of 1373 Malta has had its own assembly (Università) that dictates its rules and kept, at least apparently, its independence from the lords, although it was made up of lawyers, clergymen and landowners. They regulated commerce and administered justice, as well as formed a group of soldiers in charge of the defense of the cities. In reality the model was not very different from European feudalism.
This republic maintained its strategic position with respect to Normans, Sicily and the Arabs. Business relationships were fluid. It was on the route that started from Castile and Aragon to the eastern Mediterranean, and between Genoa and North Africa (specifically the ports of Tunis and Algeria ]). During this time, cotton production was important, becoming one of the main exports.
The Christianity was reintroduced in the islands in 1127 with Roger II. It spread rapidly, although it did not have its own Bishop until 1366, establishing the first religious orders such as the Franciscans in 1372 and the Benedictines. This establishment was helped by the history of the presence of Saint Paul in antiquity. From 1282 Malta became part of the Crown of Aragon. At the beginning of the period the predominance of foreign merchants in the economy of Italy and southern Sicily was very pronounced.
The Catalans were also forming an important trade group while the Genoese bankers provided as many credits as the Aragonese crown might require. After the unification of the Kingdom of Castile and Aragon and their Mediterranean expansion between 1500 and 1510, which led to the conquest of Tripoli, Sfax, Melilla and Oran, the importance of Malta in the Crown of Naples was much less.
In 1530, the islands were ceded by Carlos I of Spain to the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of San Juan de Jerusalem who had been expelled from Rhodes by the Ottoman Empire in 1522 in perpetuity, in exchange for the symbolic payment of a falcon each year . This militant monastic order, known since then as the Order of Malta, was besieged by the Ottoman Turks in 1565, after they reinforced the fortifications, especially in the new city of Valletta, named after Jean Parisot de la Valette, its builder.
Their rule ended when Napoleon conquered the islands in 1798. The French occupation was unpopular, however, due to its negative attitude towards religion. The Maltese rebelled against them, and the French were forced to retreat behind the fortifications. Great Britain, together with the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, sent ammunition and aid. The British also sent their fleet, which imposed a blockade on the islands.
According to Softwareleverage.org, the isolated French forces, under General Claude-Henri Belgrande de Vaubois surrendered in 1800, and the British took control of the islands, becoming a protectorate and was presented by various Maltese leaders to Sir Alexander Ball. In 1814, as part of the Treaty of Paris, Malta officially became part of the British Empire. Due to its strategic location in the middle of the Mediterranean, halfway between the Strait and the British base of Gibraltar to the west and the Suez Canal and British Egypt to the east, it was used as a port of call to India and as a barracks general of the fleet until the mid- 1930s.
Malta played an important role during World War II, as its position was also halfway between Fascist Italy and its battlefield in Libya and North Africa, thus it was a thorn in the axis provisioning lines., being bombed and heavily besieged. The courage of his people led to the delivery of the Cross of Saint George, which today can be seen on the country’s flag.
Malta’s independence was granted on September 21, 1964. Under the 1964 Constitution, Malta maintains Queen Elizabeth II as sovereign, and a Governor General exercises executive authority on her behalf. But the 13 of December of 1974, Malta became a republic within the Commonwealth, with the President as head of state.
Although Malta was entirely independent since 1964, the British services remained in the country and maintained full control over the ports, airports, post office, radio and television until March 31, 1979, when the last British troops left the island after they the British government refused to pay the current Maltese government (Labor) rate to allow British forces to remain in the country.
The prime minister was, then, Dominic Mintoff. Malta found itself free of foreign military bases for the first time in history. This event is celebrated today as Freedom Day. Malta joined the European Union on May 1, 2004.