Malta's history was, in a sense, pre-destined for it by its excellent natural harbor and strategic location. The harbor provided a sheltered base for naval fleets while the island itself, located at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, enabled its colonizing powers to exercise control over shipping in this vast and turbulent sea. Hardly surprising, therefore, that Malta has always exerted an irresistible attraction to the would-be military powers of successive epoches. Control over Malta was a pre-requisite to domination of the Mediterranean. For this reason all the various powers that, at one time or other, held sway over the Mediterranean at that time exercised control over Malta. The list of Malta's colonizers is a long one, including the Phoenicians. Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Castilians, Knights of St. John, the French, and finally, the British. The number of successive colonists is indicative of the important role Malta played in the shaping of European and Mediterranean history. The list of important visitors to the island, from the Apostle Paul to Napoleon, Nelson, Eisenhower, Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt is equally impressive. It is no exaggeration to suggest that Malta's history is a good starting point for a study of the history of the region.
If you want to enjoy Malta, soak up its history. History, in Malta, stares you in the face everywhere you visit on the islands. The good thing is that you will enjoy its captivating intensity.
All the various periods of Malta's history make fascinating reading, but there are two particular periods - the neolithic and the period of the Knights of St. John - which stand out from the rest because they are unique to Malta. On their own the remains of these two periods constitute a good reason to visit Malta.