Malta has a long history and was first inhabited in around 5900 BC. The first inhabitants were farmers, and their agricultural methods degraded the soil until the islands became uninhabitable. The islands were repopulated in around 3850 BC by a civilization which at its peak built the Megalithic Temples, which today are among the oldest surviving buildings in the world. Their civilization collapsed in around 2350 BC, but the islands were repopulated by Bronze Age warriors soon afterwards.

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  • Malta has a long history and was first inhabited in around 5900 BC. The first inhabitants were farmers, and their agricultural methods degraded the soil until the islands became uninhabitable. The islands were repopulated in around 3850 BC by a civilization which at its peak built the Megalithic Temples, which today are among the oldest surviving buildings in the world. Their civilization collapsed in around 2350 BC, but the islands were repopulated by Bronze Age warriors soon afterwards. Malta's prehistory ends in around 700 BC, when the islands were colonized by the Phoenicians. They ruled the islands until they fell to the Roman Republic in 218 BC. The island was acquired by the Eastern Romans or Byzantines in the 6th century AD, who were expelled by Aghlabids following a siege in 870 AD. Malta may have been sparsely populated for a few centuries until being repopulated by Arabs in the 11th century. The islands were invaded by the Norman County of Sicily in 1091, and a gradual Christianization of the islands followed. At this point, the islands became part of the Kingdom of Sicily and were dominated by successive feudal rulers including the Swabians, the Aragonese and eventually the Spanish. The islands were given to the Order of St. John in 1530, who ruled them as a vassal state of Sicily. In 1565, the Ottoman Empire attempted to take the islands in the Great Siege of Malta, but the invasion was repelled. The Order continued to rule Malta for over two centuries, and this period was characterized by a flourishing of the arts and architecture and an overall improvement in society. The Order was expelled after the French First Republic invaded the islands in 1798, marking the beginning of the French occupation of Malta. After a few months of French rule, the Maltese rebelled and the French were expelled in 1800 with British, Neapolitan and Portuguese assistance. Malta subsequently became a British protectorate, becoming a de facto colony in 1813. This was confirmed by the Treaty of Paris a year later. The islands became an important naval base for the British, serving as the headquarters of the Mediterranean Fleet. Due to this, Malta was attacked by the Axis powers during World War II, and in 1942 the island was awarded the George Cross, which today appears on Malta's flag and coat of arms. The Crown Colony of Malta was self-governing from 1921–33, 1947–58 and 1962–64. Malta became independent as a Commonwealth realm known as the State of Malta in 1964, and it became a republic in 1974. Since 2004, the country has been a member state of the European Union. (en)
  • Malta has a long history and was first inhabited in around 5900 BC. A second wave of colonization arrived from Sicily in around 3850 BC. One of the most notable periods of Malta's history is the temple period, starting around 3600 BC. The Ġgantija Temple in Gozo is one of the oldest free-standing buildings in the world. The name of the complex stems from the Maltese word ġgant, which reflects the magnitude of the temple's size. Many of the temples are in the form of five semicircular rooms connected at the centre. It has been suggested that these might have represented the head, arms and legs of a deity, since one of the commonest kinds of statue found in these temples is a fat woman — a symbol of fertility. The civilization which built the temples lasted for about 1500 years until about 2350 BC, at which point the culture seems to have disappeared. There is speculation about what might have happened and whether they were completely wiped out or assimilated, but it is thought that the collapse occurred due to climate conditions and drought. (en)
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  • Malta has a long history and was first inhabited in around 5900 BC. The first inhabitants were farmers, and their agricultural methods degraded the soil until the islands became uninhabitable. The islands were repopulated in around 3850 BC by a civilization which at its peak built the Megalithic Temples, which today are among the oldest surviving buildings in the world. Their civilization collapsed in around 2350 BC, but the islands were repopulated by Bronze Age warriors soon afterwards. (en)
  • Malta has a long history and was first inhabited in around 5900 BC. A second wave of colonization arrived from Sicily in around 3850 BC. One of the most notable periods of Malta's history is the temple period, starting around 3600 BC. The Ġgantija Temple in Gozo is one of the oldest free-standing buildings in the world. The name of the complex stems from the Maltese word ġgant, which reflects the magnitude of the temple's size. Many of the temples are in the form of five semicircular rooms connected at the centre. It has been suggested that these might have represented the head, arms and legs of a deity, since one of the commonest kinds of statue found in these temples is a fat woman — a symbol of fertility. The civilization which built the temples lasted for about 1500 years until about 2 (en)
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  • History of Malta (en)
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