A (Brief) Beginner's Guide To Maltese History Part 1: The Prehistoric Era

Small island, big balls, even bigger history

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When it comes to history, Malta is one of those countries which are as rich as they get. Throughout the ages, we've had tons of rulers, sieges, battles, assassinations, hostage situations and even ABŻ moments. However, most people are only familiar with the Great Siege of 1565... and barely. 

So we at Lovin Malta have decided to start a new series of watered down historical posts which will make readers more aware of what went down in our past. Sit back and get your learning hat out — we will teach you so hard you will pass any history test in no time.

Today’s lesson will be the Prehistoric era, popularly known for the poor fashion choices of wearing loincloths to cover your genitals all year round.

1. The Temples

We have so many temples here in this country that we could practically put up our entire land as a Word Heritage Site with UNESCO. Also, most of them are among the oldest (still standing) structures on this planet. 

These temples were built during distinct timelines between 3600 BC and 700 BC — that’s almost as old as your neighbour’s pug. The most popular temples we have are the Tarxien temples, Skorba, Ta’Ħaġrat, Mnajdra, Ħaġar Qim and Ġgantija.

Malta had several phases, just like you and your ex have several relationship phases ranging from honeymoon period to “I hate you and I hope that your coffee is never warm” period. 

People have been inhabiting our pretty island since the Early Neolithic Period, and we know this because pottery shards are apparently a bitch to get rid of.

2. The Neolithic Period

5,000 - 4,100 BC

This is the sticks and stones period if you catch our drift. 

Notable things you need to remember about this period are Għar Dalam, Red Skorba and Grey Skorba. 

These are the first evidence of humans residing in Malta. What type of humans, we hear you ask? Well, they were mostly farmers and hunters. And where did they come from? All the way from Sicily... using rafts.

This was suggested because a lot of the pottery found at Skorba really looked like imitation pottery from Italy — just like those fake Gucci bags Maltese women buy from the street markets in Rome. It almost feels like nothing has changed. 

No doubt weary after their long travels, these guys settled in Għar Dalam and later on built their own villages and houses. It is still argued by local and international historians whether these first settlers were PN or PL, but the tribal mentality was definitely strong AF.

3. The Temple Period

4,100 - 2,500 BC

This period gave us the Żebbuġ, Ġgantija, Mġarr, Tarxien and Saflieni temples which are all still standing today.

People from this period were trying to build Malta's first high-rise, and evidence of this can be seen in Ġgantija, Gozo. It’s very cool to note that these sites show us the evolution of buildings on this island; these bastards had building plans and developmental stages when it came to building temples.

They knew how to build apses, sculpt the fuck out of statues and make the hottest art ever seen at the time. They were serious craftsmen. 

We also still have pottery bowls from this era, which were all the rage since they were just invented. They were also farmers and grew their own non-lethal food and worshipped the famous fertility goddess, il-mara l-ħoxna.

4. The Bronze Age Period

2,500 - 700 BC

So here’s a shocker for you: The Temple Period guys just up and vanished at around 2,500 BC. 

They either starved themselves to death or someone got influenza and accidentally killed them all. 

The islands remained uninhabited for a while, until some new settlers came around and brought with them the idea of cremating the dead.

The Bronze Age was a weird age which people probably really wanted to forget — the only evidence of them we have is the cart ruts. 

Nobody really knows what curt Ruts are and everyone seems of have an opinion about them; from huge stone transporting routes to UFO landing strips. You can find these very strange lines in Clapham Junction and several other places around the island. 

Tag someone who'd be interested in reading this!

READ NEXT: QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Maltese History?


Written By

Chiara Micallef