For more than two centuries, the Maltese Islands were under Arab
rule (870-1090). In 1090, Count Roger the Norman with a small force,
landed in Malta. The Arabs did not offer any resistance and after
negotiations with Count Roger it was agreed that they were to
continue to govern the islands, but they had to pay an annual
tribute to Roger the Norman. The Maltese Islands were formally
incorporated with the Sicilian Crown about the year 1123 when Sicily
was governed by Roger II (1105-1154), the Son of Roger the Norman.
After the death of King William II of Sicily (1154-1164) his aunt
Constance who was married to the Emperor Henry VI of Germany
inherited the Sicilian Crown. Constance's title to the throne was
contested by Tancred of Lecce who was elected King of Sicily by the
Sicilian Parliament. Eventually, however, Sicily and Malta fell
under the German rule. Henry's descendents ruled Malta and Sicily
till 1266 when they were defeated by the French Prince, Charles of
Anjou, at the Battle of Benevetto (1266) and Tagliacozzo (1268).
Angevin rule did not last long. In March 1282 the Sicilians rose
against the French and by September the French had left the Island -
King Peter of Aragon now became King of Sicily, and by December 1282
the great m,ajority of the maltese had adhered to the new ruler of
Sicily. In April 1283, at the request of the Maltese, the new
sovereign of Sicily incorporated Malta with the Sicilian crown.
During the fourteenth century, the Maltese Islands were given to a
serious of Feudal lords, however the islands were again incorporated
with the Sicilian Crown in 1350 and in 1397.
In January 1421, King Alfonso V pawned the Maltese Islands to
Antonio Cardona for 30,000 gold florins. Cardona, in March 1421,
transferred his rights over the Maltese Islands to Gonsalvo Monroy.
The Maltese revolted against Monroy, and offered to pay him the sum
of 30,000 gold florins he had paid to acquired the Maltese Islands.
The request was accepted and by a Royal Charter dated 20th June 1482
King Alfonso V confirmed the right of the Maltese.
In the following century there were no feudal lords in the Maltese
Islands and there was very little interference from Sicily. The
Maltese Islands had a local government, the Universita' made up of
the government officials who carried on the day to day
administration, and the Consiglio Popolare, or local Council, which
although it could deliberate local affairs had no legislative power.