Settlement Patterns in the Maltese Islands

Topics: Malta, Population, City Pages: 3 (826 words) Published: June 12, 2013
Account for the population of the Maltese islands and its distribution, analyse how the population of the Maltese islands evolved since medieval times and discuss the factors which determined its evolution.

The population of the Maltese Islands has always varied and its distribution has changed in extreme ways over the course of time. There are a number of factors which have affected both the Maltese Islands’ population and its distribution. The Knights of St. John , the war and transport are three out of many reasons. The Maltese Islands have been frequently conquered and every conqueror had their effect on the population, whether directly or indirectly.

Before the Knights arrived to Malta, the population was much lower than it is today because many people due to diseases and the lack of a cure, hunger and poverty. Also because many were taken for slavery. The population’s distribution was mainly based in and around the rural areas and near the bays. This is because work back then involved agriculture (work in the fields), therefore people needed fields to work with which were found in the rural areas; and fishing which is why fishermen needed to live close to the sea. Also, people lived in clusters close to Mdina (which used to be the capital city), to be able to seek refuge in case of an emergency. There was no transport to take them to urban areas.

When the Knights arrived they were unhappy with Mdina as they were maritime people and they needed to be close to the sea, so they built Valletta. They fortified all of Malta and made it much safer to live in, and so people moved to the Maltese islands as they were safer and the population increased. At Valletta the Knights had a port made to have a place to leave their ships and to maintain them. This provided more jobs for the Maltese in the harbor. The Knights also needed people to build all of the fortifications. Since there were more job opportunities more people came and the population continued to...
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