Dating back to the dawn of civilisation Maltese history is long and colourful.
From the Neolithic Period, a reminder of which can be seen through the various mysterious temples dedicated to the goddess of fertility that dot the island. Later visits by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Byzantines all left the mark on the Maltese Islands.
A significant event in Maltese history was the shipwreck of St. Paul in 60A.D. while on his way to Rome, which brought Christianity to Malta. In 870 A.D. the Arabs conquered the island and left an inedible mark on the Maltese language.
The Normans, the Aragonese and other conquerors who ruled over Sicily also governed the Maltese Islands. It was Charles V who bequeathed Malta to the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem who ruled over Malta from 1530 to 1798.
The Knights took Malta through a new golden age, making it a key player in the cultural scene of 17th and 18th century Europe. The artistic and cultural lives of the Maltese Islands were injected with the presence of artists such as Caravaggio, Mattia Preti and Favray who were commissioned by the Knights to embellish churches, palaces and auberges.
In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte took over Malta from the Knights on his way to Egypt. The French presence on the islands was short lived, as the English, who were requested by the Maltese to help them against the French, blockaded the islands in 1800.
British rule in Malta lasted until 1964 when Malta became independent. The Maltese adapted the British system of administration, education and legislation.
Malta became a Republic in 1974 and joined the European Union in May 2004 and subsequently the Eurozone in 2008.