In 1800, France played pass-the-parcel with Malta and handed us over to the British Empire.
“Zey’re all yours. We ‘ave failed. Zese Maltesers ‘ave managed to steal both our snails and rabbit recipes and make zem better. And so, France surrenders. Lots of love, Napoleon Bonaparte.”
Of course, that’s not how the story really unfolded, but it is quite fun to come up with your own interpretation of how historical events really played out.
Having been away from the island for a short while, I sometimes find myself revising some Form 1 and 2 history lessons off Wikipedia, and watching travel blog videos of St Peter’s Pool with Enya playing in the background. I’m homesick; give me a break.
So as I’m going through Malta’s Wikipedia page, I came across the following gems, and I hope you can appreciate my trail of thought upon reading some of these:
“The extinction of the dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants has been linked to the earliest arrival of humans on Malta.” – Everything about us has been miniature from Day 1.
“The population on Malta… worshiped a fertility figure…” – As you can see, our pro-life groups date back to the Early Neolithic Period. Then again, il-mara l-ħoxna could’ve also been a foretelling of our obesity statistics.
“Around the time of 3500 BC, these people built some of the oldest existing free-standing structures in the world…” – Our contractors and members of MEPA really took this fact to heart. I know our ancestors created some of the most groundbreaking architecture, but enough with the building, for Mara l-Ħoxna‘s sake!
“After 2500 BC, the Maltese Islands were depopulated for several decades…” – It’s funny, everybody gets fed up and sods off after a while.
The Bronze Age immigrants who arrived after had “a culture that cremated its dead…” – It seems we had more progress back in 2500 BC.
“During the 1st century BC, the island was mentioned by Diodorus Siculus [who] praised its harbours, the wealth of its inhabitants, its lavishly decorated houses…” – Further evidence that we’ve always made it in the holiday brochures and that we’ve always been houseproud, plastic-covered sofas and all. As for the wealth of its inhabitants… You wait till rent and electricity come along.
“By 1397, the bearing of the title “Count of Malta” reverted to a feudal basis with two families fighting over the distinction, which caused some conflict.” – History really does repeat itself, doesn’t it?
“On 23 March 1530, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, gave the islands to the Knights Hospitaller… in perpetual lease for which they had to pay an annual tribute of one single Maltese Falcon.” – I wonder if they ever missed paying the tribute because of kaċċaturi.
“In 1551, the population of the island of Gozo were taken as slaves by Barbary pirates and brought to the Barbary Coast in present-day Libya.” – They’ve kidnapped the Gozitans! Even worse, they’ve taken all the cheeselets with them.
“Speaking of [the Great Siege of 1565] battle, Voltaire said, “Nothing is better known than the siege of Malta.” – Bigger than Jesus, bigger than the Kardashians, bigger than Eileen Montesin herself.
“As a ruse towards the Knights, Napoleon asked for safe harbour to resupply his ships, and then turned his guns against his hosts once safely inside Valletta.” – ‘Xiż-ż***?!’ said Grand Master Hompesch, as he handed over the keys to his penthouse at the Manoel Theatre.
“Public education was organised along principles laid down by Bonaparte himself, providing for primary and secondary education.” – This is why we kicked the French out. Not because they looted our churches, but because they made us go to school.
What other fun facts can you pick out from our Wiki history?
Let us know in the comment section below!