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Saturday 13th July
Malta Facts
Malta is situated in the Mediterranean Sea between Europe and North Africa.

At one time there was a land bridge between Malta and Sicily.

Ancient Greeks and Romans called the island Melita - the island of honey.

The earliest evidence of human habitation in Malta was found in the Ghar Dalem Cave.

The Temple at Ggantija on Gozo predates the Egyptian pyramids.

Malta's megalithic temples are older than England's Stonehenge.

A submerged archway and underwater structures have been discovered off the Maltese coast.

Channels have been found cut in the rock on Malta and in the waters along the coast. This has fuelled speculation that Malta might be the site for the legendary city of Atlantis. Plato, in an account about Atlantis, said that Atlantis consisted of nine rings of land surrounded by nine rings of water.

St Paul was shipwrecked on Malta in 60 AD. Paul converted the Governor of the island to Christianity.

The history of the eight-pointed Maltese Cross dates back to the Crusades when Christians fought the Saracens for the Holy Land. The Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem wore the symbol. The Knights went to live on Malta and the cross became known as the Maltese Cross.

The Knights of St John ruled the island of Malta from 1530 until 1798.

In 1565 the Ottoman Empire sent an army to take Malta. The Turks were defeated by the Knights of Malta (the Order of St John); following the Great Siege the Knights fortified the island.

Malta's capital city, Valletta, is named after Jean Parisot de la Valette, a Grand Master of the Knights of St John.

The tradition of hospices in Malta goes back to the twelfth century. In 1574 the Order of the Knights of St John in Malta built a new hospital. A medical school was founded in 1595.

Malta has many beautiful churches, palaces and auberges that were built by the Knights of Malta.

The University of Malta can trace its origins back to 1592.

Napoleon took over the island of Malta in 1798. The French brought an end to the Inquisition which had been introduced by the Knights in 1561.

Malta's Grand Harbour is one of the world's best natural deep-water harbours. During Britain's time in Malta the island served as a British naval base.

The 1919 Uprising (Sette Giugno riots) was caused by unrest during the British rule of Malta.

The Malta Union of Teachers, the first Maltese trade union, was founded in 1919.

In 1942, during the Second World War, King George VI (UK) awarded Malta the George Cross: "To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history."

Malta is a member of the Commonwealth.

In December 2002 Malta took part in EU accession negotiations with nine other countries (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia). The Accession Treaty was signed on 16 April 2003 with 1 May 2004 the formal entry date.

In March 2017 the famous Azure Window site collapsed during storms.
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