The main island of Malta in the middle of the Mediterranean, 60 miles south of Sicily, is only 95 square miles. It is just 17 miles long by 9 miles wide. The landscape of this rocky island is almost Biblical with flat-topped houses in honey-coloured limestone set against stony hills. Contrasting with this is the brilliant blue sea and sky. Malta’s strategic position has made it attractive to traders, colonisers and invaders dating back to the Phoenicians. For 200 years, the Arabs ruled until ousted by Norman colonisers from Sicily. Spanish rule succeeded Sicily’s and it remained so until the sixteenth century in spite of persistent attacks from Berbers, Turks and Saracens. In 1530, Charles V of Spain granted the Knights of St John, ejected from Rhodes by the Turks, the islands as their new home. This move led ultimately to the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 when the Knights and the Maltese withstood and eventually defeated the huge Turkish invasion fleet of Suleiman the Magnificent. More than two centuries of peace and prosperity followed until the unwanted arrival of Napoleon’s revolutionary French Army, who had ambitions in Egypt. French rule lasted only two years. Blockaded by the Royal Navy commanded by Admiral Lord Nelson and harried by the Maltese, the French occupying troops were forced to capitulate. Thus began the long association with Britain.Malta Convoys and Torch
After heariing what Malta endured during World War II, it’s been a desire to visit the island one day.