Malta became involved in the Arab–Byzantine Wars, and the conquest of Malta is closely linked with that of Sicily that began in 827 after admiral Euphemius' betrayal of his fellow Byzantines, requesting that the Aghlabids invade the island.

The Muslim chronicler and geographer al-Himyari recounts that in 870 CE, following a violent struggle against the occupying Byzantines, the Arab invaders, first led by Halaf al-Hadim, and later by Sawada ibn Muhammad, It is uncertain whether this new settlement took place as a consequence of demographic expansion in Sicily, as a result of a higher standard of living in Sicily (in which case the recolonisation may have taken place a few decades earlier), or as a result of civil war which broke out among the Arab rulers of Sicily in 1038.

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Another archaeological feature of the Maltese Islands often attributed to these ancient builders is equidistant uniform grooves dubbed "cart tracks" or "cart ruts" which can be found in several locations throughout the islands, with the most prominent being those found in Misraħ Għar il-Kbir, which is informally known as "Clapham Junction".

These may have been caused by wooden-wheeled carts eroding soft limestone.

Malta is a popular tourist destination with its warm climate, numerous recreational areas, and architectural and historical monuments, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, in reference to Malta's many bays and coves. the islands were invaded by the Aghlabids in AD 870.

Few other etymological mentions appear in classical literature, with the term Malta appearing in its present form in the Antonine Itinerary (Itin. The fate of the population after the Arab invasion is unclear but it seems the islands may have been completely depopulated and were likely to have been repopulated in the beginning of the second millennium by settlers from Arab-ruled Sicily who spoke Siculo-Arabic.

indicates the slow pace of the island's Romanization, since the very last locally minted coins still bear inscriptions in Ancient Greek on the obverse (like "ΜΕΛΙΤΑΙΩ", meaning "of the Maltese") and Punic motifs, showing the resistance of the Greek and Punic cultures.

During the 1st century BC the island was mentioned by Pliny the Elder and Diodorus Siculus: the latter praised its harbours, the wealth of its inhabitants, its lavishly decorated houses and the quality of its textile products. 117–38) upgraded the status of Malta to municipium or free town: the island local affairs were administered by four quattuorviri iuri dicundo and a municipal senate, while a Roman procurator, living in Mdina, represented the proconsul of Sicily.

Pottery found by archaeologists at the Skorba Temples resembles that found in Italy, and suggests that the Maltese islands were first settled in 5200 BCE mainly by Stone Age hunters or farmers who had arrived from the Italian island of Sicily, possibly the Sicani.

The extinction of the dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants has been linked to the earliest arrival of humans on Malta.

After 2500 BCE, the Maltese Islands were depopulated for several decades until the arrival of a new influx of Bronze Age immigrants, a culture that cremated its dead and introduced smaller megalithic structures called dolmens to Malta.

In most cases there are small chambers here, with the cover made of a large slab placed on upright stones.

Animal bones and a knife found behind a removable altar stone suggest that temple rituals included animal sacrifice.