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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The History of Malta is One of Strength, Character

By Rocky Wilson
Author of Sharene:
Death: A Prerequisite For Life

The History of Malta is One of Strength, Character

A tiny spec in the vortex of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta, or at least the history of Malta, is replete with a richness, depth, and sensitivity found nowhere else.

In what other country do you find a civilization dating back to 5200 BC; the oldest free-standing buildings in the world; direct connections to Biblical history; and, during World War II, a stubborn island fortress that refused to give in to tyranny despite being the most heavily bombed spot on planet earth?

With a land mass less than twice the size of Washington D.C., Malta serves as a tourist destination for Great Britain much like Hawaii does for the U.S. mainland, yet its strategic location between Sicily, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Strait of Gibraltar have long made it a target for military conquest. Plus, Malta is graced with deep-water harbors.

Even ancient mythology touches Malta, as tradition has it that the sea nymph Calypso detained Odysseus for seven years in a cave on Malta’s sister island, Gozo.

Important dates in Maltese history include:
* 5200 BC Uncovered potsherds match those in Sicily, 60 miles to the north

* 4000 BC Temple Culture, largest free-standing buildings in world, including Ggantija, built for fertility goddess

* 2500 BC Temple Culture race extinct

* 800 BC Phoenicians conquer island

* 218 BC Romans capture island during Second Punic War, build catacombs

* 60 AD St. Paul shipwrecked there, stays three months and performs miracles (Acts 27:35-28:11)

* 870 AD Arabic rule, introduce citrus fruits and erosion control

* 1090-1479 Germany, Spain, others rule

* 1530 To protect Catholic Europe, Spain gives isle to Order of the Knights of Saint John

* 1798 Napoleon captures island with no resistance

* 1798 Maltese revolt as French auction convent possessions

* 1802 British crown colony

* 1940-1945 Repeated bombings by Mussolini, Hitler, and Rommel

* 1964 Maltese independence

The Bible says people on the island of Malta, called Melita in the King James version, showed St. Paul and the nearly 300 people shipwrecked with him “no little kindness,“ and that’s still true of a people whose native language is Maltese. Maltese, a derivative of Arabic, is possibly the most complex language spoken on earth and the only Semitic language written with the Latin alphabet. Still, nearly all Maltese speak English.

The main reason Malta was able to survive near-daily bombings during World War II is that ancient civilizations there built extensive labyrinths of underground tunnels in soft limestone where the Maltese would huddle during bombing raids.

Malta consists of the inhabited islands of Malta and Gozo, and a few smaller islands. Total population there is about 400,000 people, and the climate is mild and rainy in the winter, hot and dry in the summer.

The history of Malta is long, strong, and resilient, and each year the Maltese people proudly celebrate their emergence as an independent nation on September 21.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sir

    I congratulate you for your detailed blog about Malta. I suggest that you visit Malta Tourist Authority portal www.visitmalta/ebooks to download free ebooks about Malta.