Smooth water and gentle harbors made the Maltese islands easily accessible to ancient travelers, and in 700 BC the Phoenicians who sought to employ those harbors and ports for trade found its shores. Malta history is marked through its modern day existence in the sights seen daily by visitors from around the world today.
By 500 BC Malta was settled into Punic life, and then later from 218 BC to 395 BC Roman rule challenged the setting. It is along the Malta shores that St. Paul had his famous ship wreck, and he himself that brought Christianity to the area that is a part of Maltese culture.
The enormous Greek influence on Malta came due to the old Roman Empire's ruler Constantinople and the Grecian traditions, food and superstitions still impact the local society today.
The ease of access to Malta's ports has left it vulnerable to many invasions through the centuries, and each culture has left its impact on the region. In 870 CD Arabs invaded and caused great destruction and death to existing Maltese citizens. The Norman invasion in 1090 took back the area from the Arab's until the Knight's of St. John brought prosperity back to the area and Malta's population increased and thrived once again.
During this "Golden Age" of Malta, art and architecture evolved and shows itself in the Baroque and Renaissance buildings in the current towns and villages. Nowhere is this development more evident than in Valletta Grand Harbor and Valletta, the capital city of Malta. Malta is home to the oldest university in Europe. The University of Malta was began by the Knights of St. John, and continues today. The Knights also created Valletta to be the cultural and entertainment center of Malta.
In 1798 the French took over and Napoleon rule changed everything from the language to the abolishment of slavery on the islands and creating civil law. Napoleon immediately created a constitution for Malta and developed a secondary school as well as further developing the university system.
From 1800 to 1964 the British revolutionized the Maltese environment from language to politics once again. Malta became a strategic point for British forces thanks once again to its accessible harbors. The tumultuous and at the same time illustrious make Malta one of the most diverse and interesting tourist destinations in the world.