The Maltese Archipelago is composed of five islands. Malta is the largest, followed by Gozo, its sister island. Throughout the centuries, many countries have availed themselves of the strategic, central position of the Maltese islands and their splendid natural harbours.
In the year 60 AD St. Paul found refuge on Maltese shores, hence receiving “uncommon kindness” by the inhabitants of the islands. Malta has been the home of many settlers and conquerors, such as the Sicilians, the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Castillians, and Spanish. However, it is public knowledge that Spain's ceding of the Islands to the Knights of the Order of St. John ushered an era of sophisticated culture and glory in Malta's history.
The Knights of St John era lasted 270 years. The Knights left their mark on the islands, by means of splendid fortresses, towers and the renowned capital city of Valletta itself. Valletta takes its name after its initiator, the Grand Master Jean de la Valette.
Following this era, the Islands fell into the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte. Upheaval dominated the scene, resulting in the Maltese people choosing to become a British colony.
Later on Malta fought the World War II with Britain, hence, earning the commendation of the whole world. In fact, the Islands where awarded the George Cross for the level of courage they showed ... a courage beyond that which was expected of them. The George Cross is still depicted in the Maltese flag.
In 1964, Malta took its independence and from a military base, Malta’s economy began to focus on tourism and investment. In 1974, Malta became a Republic and in 1979 the British troops formally departed from the Islands. To this day, Malta has kept an intricately woven relationship with the British. English is also a national language and a large number of British people visit Malta every year, some of them eventually becoming permanent residents of the islands.
Today, Malta has become a centre of commerce and investment. With its warm climate and talented workforce, Malta presently seeks to allure another sort of domination: investment. The Maltese economy focuses on establishing a friendly environment to companies, high-tech businesses and foreigners alike.
Malta offers its visitors much more than a common holiday atmosphere… it offers a blend of Mediterranean culture, language versatility and friendliness. Its attributes are an uncommon gem indeed!