Malta’s History in Brief

Maltese history is rich in cultural diversity and our film history is equally strong.


The history of Malta is a long and colourful one dating back to the dawn of civilisation.
The Maltese Islands went through a golden Neolithic period, the remains of which are the mysterious temples dedicated to the goddess of fertility. Later on, the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans and the Byzantines, all left their traces on the Islands.
In 60 A.D. St. Paul was shipwrecked here while on his way to Rome, bringing  Christianity to Malta.  The Arabs conquered the islands in 870 A.D. and left an important mark on the language of the Maltese.   Until 1530 Malta was an extension of Sicily: the Normans , the Aragonese and other conquerors who ruled over Sicily also governed the Maltese Islands.
Charles V bequeathed Malta to the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem, who ruled over Malta from 1530 to 1798. The Knights took Malta through a new Golden Age, making it a key player in the cultural scene of 17th and 18th century Europe. The artistic and cultural lives of the Maltese Islands were invigorated with the presence of artists such as CaravaggioMattia Preti and Favray, who were commissioned by the Knights to embellish churches, palaces and auberges.
In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte took over Malta from the Knights on his way to Egypt. The French presence was short lived, and the English, who were requested by the Maltese to help them against the French, blockaded the and soon took over the islands in 1800. British rule in Malta lasted until Independence in 1964.  The Maltese adopted, and still employ, the British system of administration, education and legislation. Modern Malta became a Republic in 1974 and joined the European Union in May 2004.
All of these visitors left their mark on Maltese culture and – more importantly for our needs – on our architecture.  This is why Malta has such a variety of architectural styles, spanning centuries. This is reflected in our rich and diverse film history which spans a multitude of genres, in historical settings as well as contemporary ones.