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Fascinating map reveals Malta place names 200 years ago

You may know Malta like the back of your hand – but do you know where Zaffee is?

It’s just one of the fascinating place names on a map dating back to 1835, showing just how much Malta has changed in the past two centuries.

Featured in The History of the British Colonies in Europe, it was compiled by Irish author and statistics expert Robert Montgomery Martin and published in London in 1835.

Covering all of Malta and Gozo, it details cities, towns and villages, estates, batteries and forts.

The map, which is almost 185 years old, also shows that the population of Malta at the time was 105,559. Today, the population stands at around 443,000.

The Gozo population in 1835 was put at 16,367. It is almost 33,000 now.

Landmarks include the Comino Tower, the salt pans in Marsaxlokk, Fort Chambray in Gozo, Selmun Palace in Mellieha, Bighi Palace and Fort Ricasoli in Kalkara, as well as familiar names such as St Paul’s Bay, Mellieha Bay and St Julian’s Bay.

While some place names in 1835 remain the same today, such as Valletta, Pieta, Vittoriosa, Zabbar and Nadur, the map outlines dozens of places which have changed their names or spelling to become those we know today.

Mdina was named Citta Vecchia on the map. Gharghur was Gargu, Mosta was Monsta, Naxxar was called Nasciar, Qormi was Kurmi, Safi was Zaffee and Balzan was Balzal.

Bugibba was an area called Badjubb, while the countryside lying between Mosta and the coast at Qawra was known as ‘the plain of Nasciar’.

Cirkewwa was known as Borsa Point, Salini Bay was called Benhorat Bay while St Paul’s Island was Salmona Island.

In Gozo, the Citadel in Victoria was described as a ‘castle’ on the map.

Victoria itself was still known as Rabatto.

Xaghra was Scicarra. Xewkija was Scianka, Marsalforn was a small beach known as Marsa Farno, and Xlendi was a tiny seaside hamlet known as Silendi.