Malta - Background

Governments of Malta, 1945-present
Year Prime Minister Party composition1
1950 Enrico Mizzi PN
1950 Giorigio Borg Olivier PN
19552 Dom Mintoff MLP
1962 Giorigio Borg Olivier PN
1966 Giorigio Borg Olivier PN
1971 Dom Mintoff MLP
1976 Dom Mintoff MLP
1981 Dom Mintoff MLP
1984 Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici MLP
1987 Eddie Fenech Adami PN
1992 Eddie Fenech Adami PN
1996 Alfred Sant MLP
1998 Eddie Fenech Adami PN
2003 Eddie Fenech Adami PN
2004 Lawrence Gonzi PN
2008 Lawrence Gonzi PN
2013 Joseph Muscat MLP

 

1 Only Prime Minister's party affiliation is listed here.

2 Office of Prime Minister abolished 1958 - 1962

PN: Nationalist Party (Partit Nazzjonalista)
MLP: Malta Labour Party (Partit Laburista)

Maltese history at a glance

Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, halfway between Gibraltar and Alexandria to the west and the east and between Sicily and Northern Africa in the north and the south, Malta has been at the cross-road of trade and warriors and its history is that of conquest and colonizers. By the 11th century Malta had e.g. been under Roman, Byzantine, Arab, and Norman influence.

In 1530, Charles V of Habsburg (who had inherited the Spanish Empire) and Pope Clement 8 handed the Maltese islands over to the Knights of St. John in order to protect Rome from the Ottoman threat in the south. The Great Siege of Malta lasted for four months in 1565 and ended with Ottoman defeat in September. The so-called Knights of Malta made the island their domain and built towns (including the present-day capital of Valletta), palaces, churches, gardens, and fortifications and embellished the island with numerous works of art and enhanced cultural heritage. The powers and popularity of the Knights declined in the course of the 18th century, and their reign was ended with the arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte's fleet in 1798. Two years later, however, the Maltese in cooperation with British forces were able to oust the French and Malta voluntarily became a part of the British Empire. In the course of the 19th century, Malta became a stronghold for the British fleet and British trade, and the economy of the islands became heavily dependent upon British military spending.

A new constitution of 1921 established a Maltese legislative assembly and a responsible government. While domestic political affairs were from that date taken care of by Maltese elected officials, Britain maintained control over Malta's foreign affairs and defence policy. Malta became an independent state in 1964 after an agreement was reached between the major Maltese parties and the British government. Malta remained a part of the Commonwealth and recognized the Queen as the head of state. In 1974, the country became a republic.

Sources

Department of Information - Malta: List of Prime Ministers since 1921

Inter-Parliamentary Union: PARLINE database on national parliaments

Malta. 2009. In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 3, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:

History (Malta), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Bergen. Retrieved 03 February 2009 from