Malta is one of the 28 member countries in the European Union. It is an archipelago of islands located south of Sicily and near Libyan coastline. The islands’ history goes back more than 5,000 years.
The current flag of Malta has two colors: white in the hoist (left side) and right in the fly (right side). In the upper left corner there is George Cross. It was awarded to Malta by the British king George VI in 1942.
In addition to the state flag described above, visitors to Malta get to see a civil ensign flag which is composed of white Maltese cross on a red background. Maltese cross has eight points and is associated with the Knights of Malta also known as The Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The order was established as early as the 11th century but hasn’t arrived to Malta until 1530.
As Malta changed hands so did its flag. Between 870 and 909, during the reign of Abbasid Caliphate, the Malta flag was entirely black. When Fatimid Caliphate took over, and ruled Malta from 909 to 1091, the flag changed its color to green (similar to Libyan flag under Kaddafi regime). The green represented Islam.
The flag with white on the left and red on the right started appearing as early as 1091. It is traditionally believed that the two colors were given to Malta around this year by Roger I of Sicily when he landed on the island after conquering Sicily. The locals fought on his side against Muslim defenders.
Foreign flags were used officially in Malta as well. The Kingdom of Sicily ruled Malta from 1194 to 1530. Also, during the British rule, the Union Jack has flown over the islands, while the French tricolors had been used during the French occupation between 1798 and 1800.
Today, government buildings often have two flags posted- one the state flag and the other the European Union flag which has a blue background with twelve golden stars.
The flag of Malta has changed many times, often dramatically. It is due to long and amazing history of this small Mediterranean nation with very rich heritage.