Malta before the Knights
Tiny Rock of History and Romance
The Phoenicians were a Semitic-speaking people noted for trade living along a narrow coastal strip of the eastern Mediterranean. One of their major cities, Byblos, was engaged in trade with Egypt as early as c. 2800 BCE. They were organized into city-states, the most notable being Tyre, Sidon, Tripoli, Aradus, and Byblos. By 1250 BCE the Phoenicians had established themselves as the dominant navigators and traders of the Mediterranean world. Phoenician ships sailed the whole of the Mediterranean, from Spain to the Turkish coast. It is also believed that their expeditions carried them outside of the Mediterranean, to England for tin, down the western coast of Africa, and possibly even further around Africa to the Pacific. While they used their ships to carry various articles of trade, they had a monopoly on the great cedars of their native Lebanon, as well as the popular dye they developed, Tyrian purple.
In addition to their home cities, the Phoenicians also founded posts and colonies throughout the Mediterranean. Of these the most important were Utica and Carthage in North Africa, founded in the ninth century BCE. In establishing these colonies, the Phoenicians were not looking for land to settle, but rather anchorages and staging points along their trade routes. In addition to North Africa, colonies were established in Sicily, Malta, Sardinia, and the Balearic Islands. The Phoenicians lacked the population to
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Publication information: Book title: The Maltese Cross: A Strategic History of Malta. Contributors: Dennis Castillo - Author. Publisher: Praeger Security International. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2006. Page number: 17.
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