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0- 395AD

Punic / Roman period (700 BC - 395AD)

41AD: The Maltese are granted municipal privileges by Rome.

60: Saint Paul shipwrecked on the island.

117 to 138: Malta becomes a municipium during the reign of Hadrian.


Western Roman and Byzantine period (395 - 870)

395 to 454: Western Roman rule over Malta, following the final division of the Roman Empire.

400 to 600: A Western Roman church is built over the remains of the Tas-Silg. megalithic temples.

454: Malta is occupied by the Vandals.

464: Malta is occupied by the Goths.

533: Belisarius restores the Maltese Islands to the Byzantine Empire.


Arab period (870 - 1127)
870: Malta is conquered by Aghlabid Arabs.
The fortified Roman settlement of Melita, on the highlands in the centre of Malta, is reduced in size, further fortified, and renamed Medina, precursor to the Medieval city of Mdina.
The Arabs construct a fort on the site of present-day Fort St Angelo.
Improved agriculture and irrigation systems are introduced, including the 'noria' or waterwheel; cotton and citrus fruits are introduced to Malta.

909: Fatimids conquered Malta.

1048: The Byzantine Empire attempts to recapture the Islands.

1091: Count Roger I of Sicily establishes Norman rule over Malta.

1122: Arab uprising against the Normans in Malta.


Norman rule (1127 - 1194)
1127:Norman control over Malta is consolidated under Roger II of Sicily.
A Norman governor is installed, and Norman soldiers are garrisoned in Malta's three main castles.
Christianity re-established as the Islands' dominant religion.

1144: Second attempt by the Byzantine Empire to recapture the Islands.

1154: The Catholic Church in Malta is incorporated into the See of Palermo.


Kingdom of Sicily: County of Malta (1194 - 1427)

1194-1266: Malta and Sicily are ruled by the Swabians (House of Hohenstaufen).

1224: Expulsion of all Muslims from Malta and Sicily.

1266-1283: Malta and Sicily are ruled by the Angevins.

1283-1530: Malta and Sicily are ruled by the Crown of Aragon.

1350: Grant in fief of lands 'Diar el Bniet' by Louis of Sicily (House of Aragon) to Francesco Gatto on the 4 January 1350, by a privilegium given at Messina, the fief having reverted to the Crown after it had been held by Michele Bava.

1356: Giacomo Pelegrino is noted as 'Capitano della Verga' ('Hakem').

1350-1357: First Incorporation of the Maltese Islands into the Royal Domain (Kingdom of Sicily).

1397-1420: Second Incorporation of the Maltese Islands into the Royal Domain (Kingdom of Sicily).

1397: Establishment of the Università, a form of local government, in Malta.

1419: The Militia List is drawn up, giving information about the population of Malta in the Middle Ages.

1420: The 'Consiglio Popolare' is mentioned when King Alphonsus of Aragon mortgaged the islands to Antonio Cardona. 1425:Uprising by the Maltese against Don Gonsalvo Monroy during his absence from the island, Count of Malta.
His wife Donna Costanza is held hostage in the Castellamare (Fort St Angelo)
Monroy appears before the Court of Sicily demanding that the strongest possible measures be taken against the insurgents.
The Maltese insurgents repel an attempt by the Viceroy of Sicily to bring the island to order
Maltese representatives appear before the same Court, offering to "redeem" the Islands by repaying the 30,000 florins originally paid by Monroy for his fiefdom over Malta, and asking King Alfonso to incorporate the Islands into his Royal Domains
Monroy agrees to the terms but demands hostages to be held for as long as his wife is held in Malta. The impasse is resolved when Antonio Inguanez offers his two sons as hostages
Negotiations drag on for several months during which only 10,000 florins are collected and the negotiated time elapses. However Monroy dies retaining for his heirs only a third of the sum collected and ordering that another third be returned to the Maltese. The last third he left to the King to be spent on strengthening the fortifications of Malta.
Impressed by the loyalty of his Maltese subjects, the King declares Malta to be the most notable gem in his Crown. The old capital city of Mdina acquires the name Città Notabile, as a result.
The Maltese do not submit to Aragonese rule until the Magna Charta Libertatis granting them their new rights is delivered to them


Kingdom of Aragon (1427 - 1530)

3 January 1427, King Alfonso incorporates Malta to the Crown of Aragon (Kingdom of Sicily), and promises never to grant Malta as a fief to any third party.

1429: The Hafsid Berbers attempt to capture Malta.

1436: In the 'Rollo' (inventory) of the benefices of the churches and chapels in Malta and Gozo, held by Bishop de Mello, ten established chapels are mentioned: The Cathedral of Mdina and the Church of San Lorenzo a Mare (Birgu), the 'Nativity of the Virgin' (Naxxar), 'Saint Helen' (Birkirkara), 'Saint George' (Qormi), 'Assumption of the irgin (Bir Miftuh), Saint Philip f Aggira (Zebbug), 'Saint Nicholas of Bari' (Siggiewi), 'Saint Catherine of Alexandria' (Zejtun and Zurrieq), Saint Domenica' (Dingli), and 'the Nativity of the Virgin' (Mellieha).

1522: Suleiman II drives the Military Hospitaller Knights of St. John of Jerusalem out of Rhodes.


The Knights of Malta (1530 - 1798)
The Early Years on Malta

26 October 1530: In an effort to protect Rome from Islamic invasion, Emperor Charles V grants the Maltese Islands to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in perpetual fief.

1531: The Knights stage their first attacks from their new naval base in Malta, forming part of a Christian fleet under the command of Admiral Andrea Doria in attacks on the Turks at Modone, on the Ottoman fort at Coronna and, in 1535, on Tunis.

1533 to 1565: Fortification and development of Fort St Elmo, on the tip of the Sciberras Peninsula (now, Valletta).

1535: First known celebration of Carnival in Malta.

1540 to 1551: Increasingly frequent razzias on Malta and Italy by Ottomans and Barbary pirates.

1547: Attempted invasion of Malta at Marsaxlokk, by Ottomans and Barbary pirates under the command of Turgut Reis. June to September, 1550: Andrea Doria and Claude de la Sengle, bailli of the French langue of the Knights, massacre the population of Mahdia, in Tunisia.

Ottoman retaliation

1551
In May, Ottomans and Barbary pirates under the command of Turgut Reis and Sinan Pasha commence a series of attacks on eastern Sicily and Malta, in revenge for the events in Mahdia.
In July, Ottomans and Barbary pirates attempt to capture Malta, landing some 10,000 men at Marsa Muscietto.
Birgu and Senglea are besieged.
The Turkish invaders abandon the harbour area and sail north to St. Paul's Bay, and stage a short-lived siege on Mdina.
Razzia on the Island of Gozo by the Turkish invaders; the Knights' local governor, Galatian de Sesse, surrenders the Citadel; almost all the inhabitants of Gozo (some 5,000 to 6,000 people) are enslaved, and transported to Tarhuna Wa Msalata in Libya from Mg.arr ix-Xini.
Turgut sails south to Tripoli, and conquers the Knights' fortress.
The Knights' local governor, Gaspar de Vallier, negotiates a truce that ensures safe passage from Tunis to Malta for the Knights of the garrison, but excludes the Maltese, Calabrian and Rhodian soldiers, who are auctioned off into slavery by the Turks.
Pope Julius III suggests that the Knights should abandon Malta, and retreat to Messina or Syracuse.

1552
Construction of Fort Saint Michael, in Senglea.
April: Fearing further razzias by Turks and Barbary corsairs, one thousand Maltese flee Malta, seeking refuge in Sicily

1557: Jean Parisot de la Valette is elected Grand Master of the Knights of Malta.

1560 to 1565: The Knights of Malta escalate their corsairing activities in the western Mediterranean.

1561: The Holy Inquisition is established in Malta. Domenico Cubelles i the first Inquisitor.

The Great Siege of Malta
December 1564: The Ottoman war council in Constantinople decrees that Malta is to be invaded and conquered.
1565:
9 April: The Spanish Viceroy of Sicily, Don García de Toledo y Osorio, a tours the Island's fortifications; he promises the Knights that in the coming invasion they need only hold out until June, when he would bring his armada back to assist Malta.
30 March: Ottoman fleet leaves Constantinople for Malta; Queen Elizabeth remarks: "If the Turks should prevail against the Isle of Malta, it is uncertain what further peril might follow to the rest of Christendom."
16 April to 13 May: Evacuation to Sicily of "a great number of people," from Malta, including large numbers of Maltese nobility, in anticipation of the imminent invasion.
18 May: Ottoman armada sighted off the coast of Malta, signalling the start of the Great Siege of Malta.
19 May: A storm prevents the Turkish fleet from landing at Marsaxlokk; the vessels are sheltered in G.nejna Bay and at G?ajn Tuffie?a.
20 May: The Turkish fleet anchors at Marsaxlokk, moved to Z.ejtun and sets up camp at Marsa.
23 June:Fort St. Elmo falls to the Turks.
Turkish commanders order all the dead Knights found in St. Elmo to be beheaded; their mutilated bodies are floated across Grand Harbour on planks towards the bastions of Senglea and Birgu
29 June: Four galleys land in the north of Malta, bringing 600 soldiers, 42 knights, 56 gunners and numerous volunteers, to reinforce the Island's defences; they walk to Mdina by night, and then on to Birgu the following morning.
3 July to 12 July: The Turkish fleet is transported on rollers, overland, from Marsamxett Harbour to Grand Harbour, in preparation for an assault on Senglea.
8 July: The Turkish forces are reinforced with the arrival of 29 vessels and 2,500 warriors accompanied by the Bey of Algiers.
9 July: Reinforcements sent by Viceroy Don García de Toledo fail to make harbour, as a result of the fall of Fort St. Elmo, and return to Sicily.
12 July: Senglea is besieged.
7 September: Don Garcia's reinforcements, known as the Grande Soccorso ("great relief"), finally arrive,
11 September: Turkish forces retreat from Malta

Reconstruction
1566: The founding of Malta's new capital city, Valletta. A general strengthening of Malta's fortifications is undertaken.
1616: William Lithgow reports that on a visit to Malta he "saw a Spanish soldier and a Maltese boy burnt in ashes, for the public profession of sodomy." The following day more than one hundred young men flee to Sicily for fear of suffering a similar fate

Age of Reason
1710: First grant in favour of locals (including a woman) of a title of nobility to have been created by the Grand Masters. On 24 December 1710, Grand Master Perellos granted the title of Baron of Gomerino jointly to Paolo and Beatrice Testaferrata.
9 January 1732: The Manoel Theatre (then known as the Teatro Pubblico) opens in Valletta with a performance of Scipione Maffei's classic tragedy Merope.
1760: After the death of the Baron Paolo Testaferrata, the office of 'Depositario' within the Inquisition was continued by his widow Vincenza Matilde. With the exception of a short period, she remained in office until 1778.
1797: By a Papal brief dated 3 March 1797, Bishop Vincenzo Labini and all his successors in the diocese of Malta, were given the title of 'Bishop of Malta and Archbishop of Rhodes'. This privilege was suppressed in 1928, and the title was changed to 'Archbishop, Bishop of Malta'


Napoleonic France (1798 - 1799)

1798: Napoleon invades Malta. Mdina (Notbile) capitulates on the 10 June. The act of capitulation of Mdina is signed on the one part by Vincenzo Barbara representing the French Republic and the Hakem together with the jurats representing the people.
1798: The Order capitulates. The Act of capitulation of Malta is signed on the 12 June by on the one part by Napoleon on behalf of the French Republic, on the other six signed on behalf of the Order, the people of Malta and the King of Spain.
Slavery, the Roman Inquisition, and all titles of nobility are abolished in Malta.
Tsar Paul I of Russia become de facto Grand Master of the Order, and orders the creation of a "Throne of Malta," in the Vorontsov Palace in St. Petersburg (now on display in the State Hermitage Museum).
29 October: First petition for the establishment of a separate Roman Catholic diocese on Gozo, led by Archpriest Saverio Cassar.
1798: The Commission of Government is appointed on 12 June 1798. General Claude Henri Belgrand de Vaubois is appointed Military Governor. The islands are divided into 12 municipalities.
1799: Maltese uprising against the French following extensive pillaging of Maltese churches and cathedrals. Britain takes Malta under its protection, in the name of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The Union Jack flies over Valletta for the first time, alongside the Neapolitan flag.
1800: The French surrender. On the 5 September 1800, General Vaubois surrendered and with Rear Admiral Villeneuve, Major General Pigot and Captain Martin, signed the articles of Capitulation. Although 20,000 Maltese lost their lives during the uprising, not one Maltese was present to sign the document
British Malta (1799 - 1964)

1801: Tsar Paul I of Russia demands the return of Malta to the Knights.

24 June 1801: Admiral Sir Alexander Ball is sent to Malta as Plenipotentiary Minister of His British Majesty for the Order of Saint John, with orders to evacuate the British forces from the Islands, and to prepare for their return to the Knights of St. John.

1802:First Declaration of Rights issued in Malta: Dichiarazione dei Diritti degli Abitanti di Malta e Gozo, including the right to freedom of conscience under the rule of law.
Under the Peace of Amiens, Britain is ordered to return Malta to the Knights of St John, but facing imminent hostilities by Napoleonic France, Britain chooses not to comply.

1801: Ball was appointed Civil Commissioner in May 1803 and immediately instructed the removal of Neapolitan forces from the Island.

1809: Ball dies in October and is succeeded by the military commander, Major-General Hildebrand-Oakes.

1813: Hildebrand-Oakes is replaced by Sir Thomas Maitland, the first to be described by the British as ‘Governor’.

1813: Malta is granted the Bathurst Constitution.

1814: Under the Treaty of Paris, and subsequently ratified by the Congress of Vienna, Malta becomes a British Crown Colony.

1814-1930: The Grand Harbour becomes an important shipping waystation, eventually serving as the headquarters for the Mediterranean Fleet.

1831: The diocese of Malta is separated from that of Palermo 20 June 1831.

1835: Malta was granted a Constitution providing for a Council of Government of seven members of whom three were to be nominated Maltese representatives. 30 December 1836: Second petition for a separate Roman Catholic diocese for Gozo is presented to Pope Gregory XVI.

1849: Malta was granted a Constitution providing for a Council of Government of eighteen members of whom eight were to be elected by the people.

1853-1856: The Crimean War; Malta serves as a hospital base for wounded combatants, and acquires the nickname Nurse of the Mediterranean.

9 June 1855: Three Gozitan representatives personally petition Pope Pius IX for a separate Roman Catholic diocese for Gozo; the pontiff promises his support.

25 October 1860: The Colonial Office in London approves the establishment of a separate Roman Catholic diocese for Gozo.

16 September 1864: Pope Pius IX issues a papal bull entitled Singulari Amore (With remarkable love), separating the islands of Gozo and Comino from the diocese of Malta; seven days later, Michele Francesco Buttigieg is elected first Bishop of Gozo.

1869: Opening of the Suez Canal, greatly enhancing the importance of the Grand Harbour to British merchant marine and naval shipping.

1870: J.S. Tucker proposes the construction of a railway from Valletta to Mdina.

1878: 21 titles of nobility were successfully claimed by various individuals before a Royal Commission.

1880: In education, "Anglicization" of Maltese students becomes a matter of policy.

28 February 1883: The Malta Railway service is inaugurated, with service from Valletta to Floriana, ?amrun, Msida, Birkirkara, Lija, San Antonio, Attard, Mosta (San Salvatore), and Mdina.

1885: 8 September (Otto Settembre) is recommended as a national holiday, commemorating the victory of the Knights and the Maltese over the Ottoman Empire in the Siege of Malta (1565).

1887: Constitution of 1887 provides that four members in the Council of members were to represent the clergy, the nobility and landed proprietors, university graduates and the merchants.

31 March 1890: Malta Railway Company Ltd. is declared bankrupt. The Malta Railway is closed.

25 February 1892: The Malta Railway reopens, under government management.

1900: The Malta Railway line is extended to Mtarfa Barracks.

23 February 1905: An electric tramway service is introduced in Malta by McCartney, McElroy & Co. Ltd., connecting Valletta, the Three Cities, and Z.ebbug. and ?amrun.

July 1908: Malta Tramways Limited assumes operations of the electric tramway service.

1912: Dr. Enrico Mizzi, a staunch supporter of the italianità of Malta, proposes in a journal article that Britain could exchange Malta for Eritrea with Italy, on the understanding that Britain would be granted access to Maltese harbours and facilities. The article proposes an Italo-Maltese federation, with elected Maltese representatives in the Italian parliament.

World War I

1914-1918: Throughout World War I, especially following the failed invasion of Gallipoli, many casualties are shipped to hospitals in Malta, resuming its role as the Nurse of the Mediterranean.

1917: Dr. Enrico Mizzi is court-martialled for sedition, and sentenced to one year imprisonment. His sentence is subsequently commuted, and a pardon is issued

Between the Wars

7 June 1919: Sette Giugno protests over increases in the price of bread. British soldiers fire on the crowd and kill four Maltese protesters, during a violent riot instigated by students. The protests lead to greater autonomy for the Maltese.

1921: Constitution of 1921 grants autonomy by providing for a bicameral legislature with the power to legislate on all matters not considered "reserved" for colonial interest.

15 December 1929: The Malta Tramway service is terminated.

1930: The 1921 Constitution is suspended.

31 March 1930: The Malta Railway service is terminated.

1934: English and Maltese are declared the official languages of Malta, to the exclusion of Italian which had been the primary language of government, commerce, education and culture in Malta for more than 800 years.

1935-1939:Mussolini's Abyssinian War and intervention on the side of Franco in the Spanish Civil War ends any possibility of reconciliation between Italy and the United Kingdom.
Tension runs high in Malta due to the possibility of Italy entering the war against the allies.

World War II

1940-45: Throughout World War II, Malta plays an important role due to the strategic location of the Grand Harbour at the crossroads of the Axis shipping lanes.

1940:
30 May: Dr. Enrico Mizzi, co-leader of the Partito Nazionalista, is arrested and imprisoned in Fort San Salvatore, to secure "the public safety and the Defence of the [Maltese Islands]...in view of the hostile origin or association of Dr. Enrico Mizzi."
10 June: Italy declares war on France and the United Kingdom.
11 June: First air raids on Malta. Malta would go on to endure the heaviest, sustained bombing attack of the War: some 154 days and nights and 6,700 tons of bombs.

1942:
February to 8 March: Governor Dobbie issues a warrant for the deportation, exile and internment in Uganda of 47 Maltese (including Dr. Enrico Mizzi) who were suspected of pro-Italian sentiments.
9 February: In the Council of Government, Nationalist Party member Sir Ugo Mifsud gives a spirited, juridical rebuttal of Britain’s policy of deporting "italo-phile" Maltese subjects; he collapses in the Chamber of Deputies, and dies two days later.
April: The Court of Appeal declares that the deportation to Uganda of "pro-Italian" Maltese subjects was illegal, null, and without effect. The deportees remain in Uganda nonetheless.
7 April: The Royal Opera House, Valletta, is destroyed by Luftwaffe bombers.
9 April: A 200 kg bomb pierces the dome of the Rotunda of Sta. Marija Assunta, Mosta, but skids across the floor without exploding; two other bombs bounce off the roof and fail to explode; 300 people were hearing Mass inside the church at the time.
15 April: The George Cross is awarded to Malta by King George VI, so as to "bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people".
15 August: With the people of Malta near starvation after two years of virtually constant bombardment, Operation Pedestal brings the "Santa Marija Convoy" to Malta, saving the Islands from a planned surrender to the Axis powers.

1943:
6 June: The 21st Engineer Aviation Regiment of the USAAF arrives on Gozo to construct a landing strip at Xewkija in preparation for the Allied invasion of Italy; the airfield is constructed in 18 days.
9 July: (Operation Husky); 2,760 ships and major landing craft converge in a rendezvous near Malta in preparation for the Allied invasion of Sicily, under the command of U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was stationed in the Lascaris War Rooms, in Valletta.
8 September: On the national holiday that commemorates the lifting of the Siege of Malta (1565), Italy announces its unconditional surrender to the Allied forces, thus ending the second Siege of Malta (1940).
11 September: Admiral Andrew Browne Cunningham signals to the British Admiralty: "Be pleased to inform Their Lordships that the Italian battle fleet now lies at anchor under the guns of the fortress of Malta."
29 September: The Italian fleet’s surrender in Malta is signed by U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio.

1944: The diocese of Malta is elevated to a Metropolitan See by Pope Piu XII.

1945:
30 January to 3 February: Malta Conference (1945); President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States and Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom meet on Malta to plan the final campaign against the Germans with the combined Chiefs of Staff, and to prepare for the Yalta Conference.
8 March: The Maltese exiles are repatriated from Uganda.


Post War Reconstruction

1946: A National Assembly is created.

1947:
Restoration of Self-Government.
Malta receives £30 million to assist with post-War reconstruction.


Integration and Independence
December 1955: A Round Table Conference is held in London, on the future of Malta.

14 February 1956: A referendum is held on the integration of Malta into the United Kingdom: 75% vote 'Yes'; however, the result is deemed to be questionable due to a boycott by 40% of the electorate in response to concerns raised by opposition parties and by the Catholic Church.

1957: Closure of the British naval docks in Grand Harbour has a devastating effect on the Maltese economy, leading to high unemployment at a time when a quarter of the workforce was employed in defence related activities.

1958:
Talks between Valletta and Whitehall regarding the integration proposal break down.
The United Kingdom imposes direct colonial rule over Malta.

1959: Malta is granted an Interim Constitution, providing for the creation of an Executive Council.

1961: The State of Malta is created pursuant to the Blood Constitution, which provides for a measure of self-government.

1961-1973: Gozo is granted a local government system.


Constitutional Monarchy (1964 - 1974)
21 September 1964: Malta is granted independence from the United Kingdom as a Constitutional Monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as its Head of State.
The Duke of Edinburgh represents The Queen at the Independence celebrations, which were held just six months following the birth of Prince Edward.
1 December 1964: Malta joins the United Nations.

1965: Malta joins the Council of Europe.

1970: Malta becomes an Associate member of the European Community.

1971: Capital punishment for murder abolished.

1972: Malta enters into a Military Base Agreement with the United Kingdom and other NATO countries.

1973: Malta decriminalises homosexuality.


Republic of Malta (1974 - present)
13 December 1974: Malta becomes a Republic, with the last Governor-General, Sir Anthony Mamo, serving as its first President. Malta remains a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

25 June 1975: Malta withdraws recognition of titles of nobility.

31 March 1979: Freedom Day, Termination of the Military Base Agreement. The Duke of Edinburgh oversees the departure of the last British forces from Malta.

1981: In the national election, the Malta Labour Party remained in Government notwithstanding the fact that 51% of the electorate voted in favour of the Partit Nazzjonalista. In the wake of this result, the constitution is amended to provide a mechanism whereby the party with a majority of the popular vote would be awarded a sufficient number of additional seats to give it a legislative majority.

1990: Malta applies to join the European Union.

1993: Local Councils are re-established in Malta.

2000: Capital punishment abolished from military code of Malta.

8th March 2003: A referendum regarding Malta joining the European Union results in 143,094 votes cast in favour and 123,628 against

16th April 2003: Malta signs accession treaty to the European Union.

1 May 2004 Malta becomes a member of the European Union.

1 January 2008 Malta adopts the euro, which replaces the Maltese lira.