A Mediterranean island located 58 miles South of the Italian island of Sicily, comprising Malta and two smaller islands of Gozo and Comino. The history dates back to the Phoenicians.

Napoleon arrived in June 1798 and in August the Maltese learned that Nelson had sunk the French “Le Orient” off the coast of Egypt that was laden with looted treasures from Malta. In October Nelson laid siege to the French forces in Malta and Gozo capitulated on the 24 October with a Royal Marine Captain raising the British flag. For a further 2 years the siege continued with Valletta finally surrendering 5 September 1800. In March 1803 Napoleon demanded Britain surrender Malta, on 15 June 1803 Nelson arrived on Malta announcing Britain and France were once again at war and Malta became a major Military and Naval base for the British.

The Crimean war of 1853 -56 saw Malta acting as a Supply Base for the Naval fleets of Britain & France, who were friends again, with Malta acting as a Hospital and treatment centre for wounded personnel from the war zone.

The Suez canal opened in 1869 shortening the sea route to the East and increasing the importance of Malta.

WW1 saw increased activity with the British and French Navies using Malta as Headquarters during the Anglo-French 1915 campaign in the Dardanelle’s. After the disastrous campaign Malta beame the Nurse of the Mediterranean with 25,000 beds in 30 hospitals plus a tented convalescent camp to cater for the sick and wounded.

Several Prisoner of War camps were also established on the island and the Japanese had a fleet of naval vessels based out of Malta engaged on Convoy duties throughout the Mediterranean.

The close proximity of Sicily was devastating to Malta during WW2 after Italy entered the war in June 1940 its Air Force constantly bombed Malta and the German Air Force from Sicily in January 1942 waged a massive campaign to destroy the island dropping almost 10,000 tons of bombs on Malta between February – April. Malta taking an aerial assault unprecedented in the annals of Warfare so much so that King GVI awarded Malta the George Cross, the highest civilian medal of bravery.

Malta was used as a Major Military Base during the 1956 Suez crisis.

Mail carrying British stamps from the Crimean War were cancelled at Malta from April 1855 – September 1856 and these are very rare.

The stamps of Great Britain were used on overseas mails from September 1857 until 31 December 1884. Maltese stamps for Internal use began to be issued from 1 December 1860 on an experimental basis until the first Malta definitive were issued 1 January 1885. All mail carrying adhesives prior to 1 January 1885 are difficult to very rare.