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Five questions about Malta – Quick Quiz answers

We asked you five quick trivia questions about Malta. Here are the answers:

  1. In what year did Malta become a republic?
    Although Malta became independent on 23 September 1964, it didn’t become a republic for another 10 years, under the leadership of Prime Minister Dom Mintoff – the exact date was 13 December 1974.
  2. The name “Malta” is said to derive from the Greek word for what foodstuff?
    Honey. There are several possible derivations of the name, and two of them are related to honey – one is because of the species of bee unique to the Maltese islands, the other is because of the colour of the limestone of which so many of Malta’s buildings are built. Another possibility is that it’s from the Phoenician word maleth, “a haven”, in reference to Malta’s many bays and coves.
  3. What is jizya and why is this relevant to Malta?
    It’s a tax historically levied by Muslim rulers (and, apparently, recently by the Taliban) on their non-Muslim (particularly Christian and Jewish) subjects, who in return were given certain limited rights – including the right to continue practising their own religion – and protection. Malta came under Muslim rule during the Byzantine-Arab wars for almost all of the tenth and eleventh centuries.
  4. In 1530, who gave Malta the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in perpetual lease?
    Charles I of Spain. Malta had been under the rule of the House of Aragon since 1282 and thus became a Spanish possession when Aragon and Castile were united in 1516. The Ottomans forced the Knights out of Rhodes in 1522; Charles (known more widely as Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire) leased Malta, Gozo and Tripoli to the Knights in return for a single Maltese falcon, to be delivered annually to the Viceroy of Sicily.
  5. What happened to the entire population of Gozo in 1551?
    All 5,000 of them were captured by Barbary corsairs, taken into slavery and shipped off to what is now Libya. Gozo was repopulated from Malta over 15 years (1565-80), but for many years afterwards the island’s farmers would have to return to the citadel in Victoria every night for protection against further pirate attacks.

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