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Malta's location in the middle of the Mediterranean has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, and a succession of powers, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights of St. Under the Malta Independence Act, passed by the British Parliament in 1964, Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom as an independent sovereign Commonwealth realm, officially known from 1964 to 1974 as the State of Malta, with Elizabeth II as its head of state. A significant prehistoric Neolithic culture marked by Megalithic structures, which date back to c.The country became a republic in 1974, and although no longer a Commonwealth realm, remains a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations. 3600 BC, existed on the islands, as evidenced by the temples of Mnajdra, Ggantija and others.Animal bones and a knife found behind a removable altar stone suggest that temple rituals included animal sacrifice.Tentative information suggests that the sacrifices were made to the goddess of fertility, whose statue is now in the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.A culture of megalithis temple builders then either supplanted or arose from this early period.
Under its 1964 constitution Malta initially retained Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Malta, with a Governor-General exercising executive authority on her behalf.On 13 December 1974 (Republic Day) it became a republic within the Commonwealth, with the President as head of state.On 31 March 1979 Malta saw the withdrawal of the last British troops and the Royal Navy from Malta.The population on Malta grew cereals, raised livestock and, in common with other ancient Mediterranean cultures, worshiped a fertility figure represented in Maltese prehistoric artefacts exhibiting the proportions seen in similar statuettes, including the Venus of Willendorf.Pottery from the Għar Dalam phase is similar to pottery found in Agrigento, Sicily.