Early Inhabitants

At around the year 750 B.C. the Phoenicians settled in Malta. This maritime power based on trade and commerce referred to the island as Maleth, which means “shelter”. The Phoenicians were highly civilized people who used the Maltese islands as a stop on their trade routes – a bit like the transhipment industry that has developed here centuries later.

The Carthaginian Period in Malta started at around the year 480 B.C. Carthage, was a city founded by the Phoenicians on the north coast of Africa located in what is today Tunisia. The Carthaginians ruled Malta more about two and a half centuries. During this time, the inhabitants mostly grew olives, carobs and also produced some textiles.

The Carthaginians had to relinquish these islands to the Romans who seized control of Malta at the second Punic War in 218 B.C.