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Title: A concise history of Malta
Authors: Cassar, Carmel
Keywords: Malta -- History
Malta -- Politics and government -- History
Malta -- Population -- History
Malta -- Church history
Order of St John -- History
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Malta
Knights of Malta -- History
Issue Date: 2000
Publisher: Mireva
Citation: Cassar, C. (2000). A concise history of Malta. Malta: Mireva.
Abstract: In concise history of a country one is compelled to compress thousands of years of a highly complex history into a brief volume. It is an attempt which wiIl, in all probability, provoke disapproval from most specialists, who see their own particular patches of historical interest constrained, misrepresented, perhaps distorted, or even ignored altogether. Yet a brief history on such a large topic can make no attempt at comprehensiveness and can at best hope to provide guidance into the main traits of the rich historical past of the country in question - in this case, Malta. Malta consists of a miniscule central Mediterranean archipelago whose geographical isolation made possible the development of peculiar characteristics which started from prehistoric times. The same cultural influences from neighbouring southern European and North African states continued to be integrated into the socio-cultural fabric of Malta. This may be particularly said of Italy of the pre-unification days, and more specifically of nearby Sicily. Chapter one is intended mainly to provide the general geographical and historical backgrounds that are so fundamental in a proper understanding of the socio-cultural traits of Malta. Chapter two is a cursory general overview of the history of the country from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. The next chapter discusses the main issues and impact of the Order of St John. Finally chapters four, five and six discuss the development of Maltese political aspirations, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and raise arguments about the difficulties encountered when trying to integrate an island with a varied cultural background into the British imperial set-up. The epilogue comes right down to the present and attempts to give a feeling of the moral and political crisis Malta is facing at the dawn of the twenty-first century. This makes any conclusion risky beyond need, and may, at times, sound rather pessimistic. This book discussing such a wide period relies heavily on researches undertaken by others. It was, above all, my concern to represent a synthesis of existing knowledge - based, as it is, on quite conflicting views - and to develop a coherent overall account. While conscious of gaps and inadequacies it is hoped that this book may stimulate the reader for subsequent more detailed exploration of particular aspects discussed here. It may also help the general reader to locate the existing knowledge and interests on Malta within a broad Mediterranean framework. I am grateful to coIleagues and friends who have read and commented on parts of the manuscript. I would in particular like to thank Paul Sant-Cassia and Dominic Cutajar for their painstaking efforts to improve the text. They have been constant friends over many years. I also wish to thank Evan Cumbo who first set me the challenge to write this book. The choice of appropriate illustrations was a difficult task and raised many problems of selection, interpretation and omission. Readers may notice that the publisher and myself have tried to keep illustrations to a minimum and have generally preferred the representation of broad themes. My grandfathers, to whom this book is dedicated, each has in his own very special way, nurtured in me a love for history. I will always remember my childhood weekly visits to heritage sites with my patemal grandfather, a master-baker proud of his trade, and madly in love with all that makes us Maltese. On the other hand, the vivid descriptions which my matemal grandfather used to give me of his travels around the world - as soldier, sailor and emigrant - during the first decades of the twentieth century, wiIl forever remain indelibile. Finally, while admitting that very little would have been achieved hadn't it not been for the encouragement and support given by my father and my mother, I cherish my main sources of inspiration - Susan my wife, and Marc'Andrea my son, both of whom I have robbed many an hour, rightfully theirs. I can never thank them enough.
ISBN: 9781870579520
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - InsTTC

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