Under the rule of the state of Sicily and the Norman rulers, Malta
became a very important strategic land as it fell on the Mediterranean trade routes;
this led to relatively massive military build-up on the island as forts were built
and trading harbors were established. However, as rulers in Sicily and mainland
Europe changed so did the rulers over Malta, creating little long-term stability.
In the 1200s the Muslims were forced to leave the islands or convert to Christianity.
Shortly afterwards the rulers of Aragon (in modern-day Spain)
took control of the islands and ruled over the tiny nation until the early 1400s,
when power shifted back to Sicily.
The 1500s again saw much change for the islands as they sat between
Europe and Africa, making them an ideal location
for a fight between the Barbary pirates (off the North African coast) and the powers
in Europe. This again militarized the nation as the Knights of Malta
fended off the Barbary Coast pirates and made the islands a symbol of Christianity.
After the pinnacle of the violence in the Mediterranean Sea subdued,
Malta was again mostly forgotten. This ended in about 1800 when Napoleon
took over the islands and implemented many of the same reforms the
French Revolution preached. This didn't last long though as the
British came in less than five years later to take the islands, however
this was primarily a welcomed change as the islands became a part of the British