It’s just a little island in the Mediterranean Sea, between Sicily and Africa: not very promising for agriculture, nor well-endowed with useful minerals. But whoever controls Malta can control shipping across the Mediterranean, so it’s long been a place fiercely fought over.
But long before that, tiny Malta was home to a civilization that left gigantic buildings ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalithic_Temples_of_Malta ). Some of the biggest were produced by people to whom has been given the name “the Tarxien Civilization,” which flourished from about 3150 B.C. to 2500 B.C. That is, it seems to have been winding down just as the Egyptian pyramids were winding up. The dates are approximations drawn from Carbon-14 dating methods.
We don’t know who these people were. They left us no inscriptions. Pretty strange, when you come to think of that–huge, impressive public buildings with no inscriptions in them. Go ahead, try to find one in your town. It may be that the living natives of Malta are the descendants of the great builders. We just don’t know. Malta doesn’t appear in written history until long after Tarxien stopped building. The Phoenicians set up an outpost there around 800 B.C., and for some centuries after that, Malta was held by Carthage. The modern Maltese language has Semitic roots, probably a legacy of Carthaginian settlement. But the people have very likely been there much, much longer than that.
Maltese history has been pretty much a series of wars: no Mediterranean power could ever let another power control Malta. So there’s been enormous disruption, and the modern Maltese can tell us nothing about the people who built the great temples. Their folklore says that giants built them.
And unless someone is lucky enough to find an ancient Egyptian record of what was going on in Malta before 2500 B.C., we just may be stuck with the giants.