The Norman Count Roger of Hauteville recaptured Sicily and Malta for the Christian Faith but he is said not to have expelled the Arabs, and thus their influence here remained strong until his heir, Roger II, had his own way. ? Now officially a part of Europe and divested of direct Arabic influence, the Maltese Islands would be affected by whatever political interactions occured between the Royal Families of the European continent.
Needless to say, foreign families settled in Malta, bringing with them their European family names and native parlance. ? And so, aside from Latin, the official language of the Roman Catholic Church and of the European scholar, Sicilian and, eventually, Tuscan Italian contributed to the re-Romanization of the Islands.
Latin plaque on Mdina's Main Gate
The ceding of the Maltese Islands by Charles V (in the year 1530) to the Order of the Knights of Saint John (made up of 8 Langues) further increased the cultural and linguistic influences on the Maltese population.
The Order was a cosmopolitan institution, comprised of French knights, of the Provence and Auvergne langues, the Spanish from Aragon, the Italians, the Portughese from the langue of Castille & Leon, German (Bavarian) knights and even a group of English knights, though this langue became unpopular following Henry VIII's quarrels with the Roman Catholic Church. ?
Perhaps not all the mentioned languages left their imprint on the extant Maltese vernacular, but a few certainly did.
French Republican soldiers
Napoleon's victory over the Order brought French Rule to Malta in 1798. ? Practically throughout this brief occupation, the French garrison was confined to the shelter of our walled cities (following a Maltese insurrection), so little influence could be imparted. While Napoleon left us a wealth in Codes of Law the opposite could be said about our own national treasures, carried off by General Buonaparte on L'Orient which eventually met her own doom at the bottom of the Mediterranean, treasures and all. ?
Though French rule was brief and highly unpopular, we still retain a few French words in common, everyday Maltese.
The coming of Britain's Royal Navy to the aid of the besieging Maltese citizens brought about the surrender and ousting of Napoleon's army from our nation. ? At this point, it seemed natural to return the
Islands to their formal rulers, the Knights of S.John, but as the people of Malta had had enough of the Order, the decision reached by the Treaty of Amiens (Article X) was most unwelcome. ? The Maltese people united against the return of their Islands to the despotic Order, and requested the status of Protectorate of the British Empire? And so, from the year 1800, when Sir Alexander Ball was made Britain's first Civil Commissioner (later to become Governor General) for Malta, till 1964 when Malta officially attained Independence, for a period of approximately 165 years the