Thursday, 1 November 2012

Malta

Well I’m back.

I’ve been in Malta.  And I took photos.  Some very bad photos due to a) not being good at photography, b) The Camera not liking The Dark or far away and c) nearly everywhere I went insisting I turn off The Flash, which appears to make The Camera brain dead.

Over The Next Few Days I will put up The Pictures on The Blog.  But to start, it’ll help (it definitely will) to give a (very) brief history of Malta so you know what you’re looking at and why.

Malta is a small island country (smaller than the Isle Of Wight) in the middle of the Mediterranean (so has played an important part throughout history as anyone who wants control of the Mediterranean has to have control of Malta).  It is south of Italy, west of Greece, north of Libya and east of Tunisia.  It’s part of the EU, has the euro as currency and its languages are Malti and English.  It’s made of limestone
and has very few sand beaches, and doesn’t support much plant or wildlife.  Its tourist appeal lies in its rich history.

Malta was originally part of the Europe landmass before rising sea levels towards the end of the Ice Age turned it into an island.  The first human settlers (5000 BC) probably came from Sicily and lived in caves.  Later (4500 BC) they built mud huts.  Suddenly and with a skill seen nowhere else in The World at this time (3600 BC) they started building stone temples
and making statues of large people (‘Fat Ladies’) always in similar positions.  And just as suddenly this culture vanished (2500 BC).  A new society emerged in the Bronze Age (2400 BC), who cremated their dead rather than buried them.  Then the Phoenicians settled here (8th century BC) and so began a constant occupation of Malta by outside powers until the 1960s.  The Romans invaded (218 BC). 
St Paul was shipwrecked here (AD 535) and converted the island to Christianity.  The Arabs took over (AD 870).  Then the Normans (1091), then Malta was passed about various European powers and in 1429 the Arabs enslaved 30% of the population.  Eventually (1530) Malta was given to the Knights Of St John.
They stayed in power until Napoleon invaded (1798).  The British kicked him out but the Maltese didn’t want the Knights in charge any more, so Malta became part of the British Empire instead (1800). 
During World War II, Malta had The Shit bombed out of it by Italy and was awarded the George Cross for its bravery.
Malta gained independence in 1964.

Tune in tomorrow.

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