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Pottery found by archeologists in Malta resembles that found in Italy. This suggests that the Maltese Archipelago has been inhabited since 5200 BC by stone-age hunters who arrived from the larger island of Italy, probably the Sicily we know today.
Ownership of Malta changed hands in 535 AD, with the Byzantine Empire taking over. In turn, the Greeks surrendered to the Arabs in 870 AD and Malta remained Muslim until the end of the 11th century when in 1090 the Norman master of Sicily came to Malta and defeated the Arabs. Christianity re-established itself. For the next 400 years Malta's rulers were a succession of Normans, French and Spanish.
Knights of Malta and Napoleon
In 1530 Charles V handed over the Maltese Islands to the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The best-known event in Maltese history, The Great Siege of Malta, occurred in 1565 when the Knights together with the Maltese heroically defended Malta from a major Ottoman invasion.
British Empire and World War 2
In 1814Malta officially became a part of the British Empire and was used as a shipping way-station and fleet headquarters. Malta's position half-way between Gibraltar and the Suez Canal proved to be its main asset during these years and it was considered an important stop on the way to India.
Independence and Republic
Queen Elizabeth gave Malta its independence on 21 September 1964 which is now considered Independence Day.
1. Malta is known for its world heritage sites, most prominently the Megalithic Temples which are the oldest free-standing structures in Europe.
2. The Capital is called VALLETTA named after Grand Master Jean De La Vallette.
3. The official languages are English & Maltese
4. The official currency is Euro
5. The time zone is CET (UTC + 1)
6. The Maltese drive on the left side
7. The international calling code is + 356
Art and architecture
Malta has a long history of architecture, influenced by many different Mediterranean cultures over its history.
Maltese cuisine is typically Mediterranean, based on fresh seasonal locally available produce and seafood. Most popular dishes and snacks are Beef olives, rabbit, fish, pastizzi, dates and twistees. The favourite local soft drink is Kinnie, the local beer is CISK and the liquor is ZEPPI’s.
The bus is the primary route of public transport for the islands, buses offer a relatively cheap and frequent service to many parts of Malta and Gozo.
The Malta International Airport is the only airport serving the Maltese Islands and is situated in LUQA.
The Constitution of Malta declares Roman Catholicism as the state religion.
Malta was ranked number five in the World Health Organization's ranking of the world's health systems.
Mater Dei Hospital is Malta's public hospital and one of the largest medical buildings in Europe.
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