Malta profile - Timeline

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A chronology of key events:

1798 - French forces capture Malta from the Catholic Order of the Knights of Malta, who have ruled it since the Holy Roman Emperor granted it to them in 1530.

1814 - The Treaty of Vienna ends the Napoleonic Wars, and grants Malta as a crown colony to Britain.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Malta served as an important base for Britain's Royal Navy, whose vessels are seen here during World War II

1942 - Heavy bombing by German and Italian air forces targeting Allied bases. King George VI awards colony the George Cross - Britain's highest civilian decoration - for heroism.

1947 - Self-government granted.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Malta was collectively awarded the George Cross for their bravery while being bombed in World War II

1964-71 - Independence granted. Conservative Nationalist Party pursues pro-Western policies.

1971 - Dom Mintoff's Labour Party takes power, and reorients Malta towards Libya and the Communist bloc.

1974 - Malta becomes republic.

1979 - Closure of last British military base.

Road to EU

1987 - Victory of Nationalist Party marks move toward European integration, three years after Dom Mintoff resigns.

1989 - Malta hosts first summit between Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and US President George Bush.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Malta Knights - The Knights of St John defeated Ottoman forces in the famous "siege of Malta" in 1565

1990 - Malta applies to join European Union.

1995 April - Malta joins Nato's Partnership for Peace programme, only to leave in October 1996 in order to maintain its neutrality

2004 May - Malta is one of 10 new states to join the EU.

Malta joins eurozone

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Malta has become a popular tourist destination

2008 January - Malta adopts the euro.

2011 July - Maltese parliament passes law allowing divorce after the move was approved in a referendum in May. The overwhelmingly Catholic country was the last in Europe to maintain a divorce ban.

2012 January - Malta's credit rating, along with that of several eurozone countries, is downgraded by Standard and Poor's rating agency. The IMF warns that the Maltese economy is at risk of contagion from the global financial crisis.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Gozo's Azure Window prior to its collapse

2017 March - The famous Azure Window tourist site collapses in heavy storms. The rock formation had featured in the film Clash of the Titans and the TV series Game of Thrones.

2017 October - Reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia is killed by a car bomb after campaigning against corruption in high places. Mass protests in Malta lead to pressure on the authorities to allow an independent public inquiry.

2020 January - Prime Minister Joseph Muscat resigns as a result of a political and constitutional crisis over the investigation into the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia. He is succeeded as prime minister and Labour Party leader by Robert Abela.