Malta is a small island country in the Mediterranean Sea, known for its rich history and stunning architecture. But have you ever wondered what Malta was called in ancient times? Let’s take a trip back in time and explore the different names that this beautiful country has been known by over the centuries.
The Phoenician Era
The Phoenicians were one of the first civilizations to inhabit Malta, and they referred to the island as “Maleth.” This name is believed to have originated from the Phoenician word for “safe haven” or “shelter.” The Phoenicians were skilled sailors and traders, and they established an important trading post on the island.
The Roman Era
Malta was conquered by Rome in 218 BC, and it became an important part of the Roman Empire. During this time, Malta was known as “Melita,” which means “honey” in Latin. This name is believed to have originated from the abundance of honey that was produced on the island.
The Arab Era
In 870 AD, Malta was conquered by Arab forces led by General Halaf al-Hadim. During this time, Malta was known as “Malat,” which means “refuge” or “haven” in Arabic. The Arab influence can still be seen today in Malta’s language, culture, and architecture.
The Norman Era
In 1091 AD, Malta was conquered by Norman forces led by Roger I of Sicily. During this time, Malta was known as “Maleth,” which is believed to be a variation of its original Phoenician name.
The Knights of St. John Era
In 1530 AD, Malta was given to the Knights Hospitaller (also known as the Knights of St. John) by Emperor Charles V of Spain. During this time, Malta was known as “Sancte Pauli Insula,” which means “Island of St. Paul” in Latin. The Knights Hospitaller established their headquarters on the island and built many impressive fortifications and buildings.
The British Era
Malta became a British colony in 1814, and it remained under British rule until 1964 when it gained independence. During this time, Malta was known as “Malta.” The British left a lasting legacy on the island, including the introduction of the English language and many important infrastructure projects.
As you can see, Malta has been known by many different names throughout history, reflecting the diverse range of civilizations that have inhabited the island over the centuries. Whether you call it Maleth, Melita, Malat, or Malta, one thing is certain – this beautiful country has a rich and fascinating history that is waiting to be explored.