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1860, sterling.

1972, 10 mils = 1 cent.
100 cents = £Maltese

Before 1650

Group of islands lying about 60 miles south of Sicily. In 1530 Charles V, Emperor of Germany and King of Spain, gave the islands to the Knights of St John after they had been driven from Rhodes. The Knights made a successful defence of the island against the Turks in 1551 and 1556. Letters of the 17th century are not uncommon and deal with supplies of material either to or from the island.


The Knights maintained control of the island for over 200 years and it was not until Napoleon was making his invasion of Egypt that the island fell to the French in 1798. Malta surrendered to the British in 1800.

By 1806 the British authorities had established a packet agency to deal with external mail, particularly for the garrison. This was operated by the government from Falmouth. Because of its location Malta was a centre of disinfection for mail carried through the Mediterranean.


Continued to use handstruck marks even after Britain issued stamps in 1840.

Packet service from Falmouth was transferred from the government to the Peninsular Line in 1835, though this continued to operate from Falmouth until 1862. Special cancellations were introduced for disinfected mail including one which read 'Purifie au Lazaret, Malte'. By 1849 a local postal service had been introduced and was administered by the local authorities.


FIRST STAMPS ISSUED British stamps 1854.

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED 1 December 1860.

In 1854, and possibly earlier, British stamps were placed on sale in Malta and numeral 'A25' was allocated for the cancellation of adhesives as well as the letter 'M' in an oval of bars. The use of British adhesives continued until the P0 was handed over to colonial administration in 1885. Although British stamps continued to be used for overseas mail, a ½d stamp for the local post was introduced in 1860 and was used concurrently with British stamps.

The P & 0 service had continued to grow and Malta continued to be one of the main ports of call during the run through the Mediterranean.


Malta took control of its own postal affairs on 1 January 1885. The ½d adhesive issued in 1860 and the British adhesives were withdrawn at that time and a new set was issued on 1 January 1885. The internal postal service within Malta increased and by 1914 there were 36 sub-offices.


Malta was an important base for the Royal Navy during World War I. It continued to use its own stamps, but the size of the garrison led to a large increase in Forces' mail.


Moved towards independence and in 1922 was granted self-government. However, the economic problems were such that this status was untenable and Malta reverted to a Crown Colony.

In 1928 Malta developed a feeder service to link into the London-Karachi service. In 1931 this was extended to provide services to Genoa and Tripoli.


During World War II Malta was under constant attack from mid-1940 to 1943. For the gallantry of the population and the garrison, the island was awarded the George Cross. To begin with the posts were very disrupted and it was difficult to maintain contact with Britain. About May 1943 Malta was included in the Middle East forces and troops were no longer allowed to use Maltese stamps. British stamps, unoverprinted, were used in Field POs.

1945 to date


After the first failure in the 1920s, Malta was again granted self-government in November 1948. This continued until 1964 when independence was granted.

Malta continues as an independent country within the Commonwealth.

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