The total area of our islands of Malta and Gozo is just 246 square metres and one may well ask what could possibly have emerged from lumps of limestone rock plonked in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea?
Amazingly, quite a lot so let’s go back to the era of a lifetime spanning 247 to 182 BC as a starting point. This life span was that of the famous Carthaginian General Hannibal, famed for his masterminding of the invasion of the Roman Empire across the Alps in 218 BC using elephants and catching the Romans totally off guard, although not actually managing to reach Rome. Then aged only 30, he is still regarded as being one of the most distinguished military leaders in history.
Many historians have contended down through the ages that Hannibal was born in Malta, the son of Hamilcar Barca during his term as the Administrative Governor of the islands.
In 218-219 BC the Romans, as anticipated by the Carthaginians, invaded Malta for the second time when Hannibal’s father Hamilcar was still Governor. The Carthaginians were driven away and Malta became a part of the Roman Empire. Was this a measure of revenge perhaps in retaliation to Hannibal’s attempted invasion of Rome?
Writer Melanie Drury was born and raised in Malta but has spent a lifetime traveling around the world. Writing for the site guidemalta.com she published her list of internationally-renowned persons who have made their mark and have strong links to Malta.
These are some of them – BUT not all were listed and selected by Melanie, particularly Magdalene St. Michaels and Tony Pulis – my selections.
EDWIGE FENECH – ACTRESS
Of course I have to start with this one because we share the same surname; maybe we are related? Born in French Algeria (now Algeria), her father was Maltese and her mother Sicilian. Her looks and figure were outstandingly attractive and this soon drew the attention of the film industry. This led her to becoming a screen actress (usually a very sexy role) and later a film producer. She worked alongside Al Pacino and starred in a Quentin Tarantino film. She became particularly popular in Italy with her films continually screened in cinemas and on television and she often appeared in skimpy clothing and sometimes fully nude!
BRITNEY SPEARS – SINGER
Britney’s mother Lynne Spears related in her biography ‘Through the Storm’ that “on my mama’s side, the family tree is a little more colourful and glamorous. Her father, my grandfather, was Anthony Portelli, who came from the island of Malta. Anthony Portelli came to England in the 1920s, married a British girl and changed his name to Portell. The Portells had two daughters, Joan, my aunt, and Lillian, my mother.” Britney’s great-grandfather was therefore Maltese.
BRYAN ADAMS – SINGER – SONGWRITER
In 2007 Canadian rock singer and songwriter, record producer and guitarist Bryan Adams was in Malta to perform a concert. He astounded his audience when he revealed that his maternal grandmother was Maltese, born in Floriana but lived in Valletta. His mother was thus Maltese-Canadian and he was born in Canada in 1959.
MAGDALENE St. MICHAELS – PORN STAR
Magdalene was born at Mtarfa Military Hospital in Malta on 3rd June, 1957 and is now 64-years-old. Her father was in the British Army and at the time was stationed in Malta and hence her birth at Mtarfa. She went to the United States and was classically trained as a theatre actress, dancer and singer. One day, in 2007 she was strolling around Las Vegas. Aged 50 she was looking for fresh creative outlets. An Executive of Girlfriends Films (hard porn) spotted her and said she would make an ideal porno star and she agreed to give it a try. She featured in scores of films and became one of the industry’s top stars. This is how Girlfriends Films promote her: “Magdalene was born in Malta, a cozy Mediterranean island between Sicily and Africa. She was brought up in England but her eyes still betray that Mediterranean fire!”
TASH SULTANA – MUSICIAN
Tash Sultana is the proud daughter of Maltese-Australian descent born in 1995. At an early age she astounded the music world with her talents and can play 20 different instruments including the guitar, bass, trumpet, flute, piano, drums, mandolin, saxophone, and synthesizers. She also performs vocals. Her repertoire includes psychedelic rock, alternative rock, reggae rock and lo-fi. Her music career started off when she was just three and since reaching the age of 17 she has been street-busking around the streets of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
KERRY INGRAM – ACTRESS
A contemporary young and rising star who played the part of Princess Baratheon in Game of Thrones. For her role in the musical Matilda she won an Olivier Award, the highest-possible honour in British theatre. Kerry’s grandfather was Maltese and annually she does her best to attend every year the feast of the village of Mqabba in Malta.
ANDY PARTRIDGE – MUSICIAN
A legendary British Rock star and singer-songwriter Andy was born in Malta in 1953 at the Mtarfa Military Hospital as his father was a British services man at the time, stationed in Malta. He was the backbone of the rock band XTC from 1972 to 2006.
MEGAN MARKLE – PRINCESS
Needs no introduction and has amassed more international fame that all the others listed, put together. Rachel Megan Markle visited Malta some years back as a fashion model and fell in love with Malta and its gastronomy. She was here as a fashion model but also had a special quest that tied her to the island. Later she wrote “… coming to Malta has been really important to me because my great-great-grandmother lived here, so we’ve been trying to trace the ancestry.” She did trace her ancestry and her great-grand-grandmother did live in Malta up to the age of 18 before migrating to the United States. Later, she married Prince William and as they say, her publicity-wrangling carry ons with the British Royal Family, really made her name – and has bored everyone to tears!
TONY PULIS – FOOTBALLER AND FOOTBALL MANAGER
Tony (Anthony Richard) Pulis was born on 16th January, 1958, in Newport, Wales, son of a Maltese father who originally hailed from Zabbar, Malta. At the young age of 19 he acquired the football coaching badge and two years later the EUFA ‘A’ Coaching Licence, one of the youngest persons to have done so. Meanwhile he went on to play 300 soccer matches in different leagues. In 1992 he began his coaching career as Manager of Bournemouth AFC and in 1995 moved to Gillingham FC as their Manager. He went on to manage Bristol City FC, Portsmouth FC, Stoke City FC, Plymouth Argyle FC, Crystal Palace FC, West Bromwich Albion FC and Middlesboro’ FC, some of them in the highest division in English football, the Premier League. He has an impressive record in that every team he has managed has never been relegated. He has visited Malta to look up his paternal relatives who still reside at Zabbar.
PAUL TISDALE – FOOTBALLER AND FOOTBALL MANAGER
Paul Tisdale was born in Valletta, Malta, on 14th January, 1973. As a football player he played for a number of clubs including Southampton FC, Bristol City FC, FinnPa (Finland), Panionios (Greece) and Yeovil Town FC. Injury forced him to quit playing and he progressed to football management and in 1999 he developed TeamBath FC, the team of Bath University and he created FA Cup history when TeamBath became the first-ever university team to progress to the FA Cup rounds proper. Later he managed Bristol Rovers FC and acted as Coaching Advisor to Colchester United FC.
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“He thinks little of disrupting his pubic hair”
This is said of a person who is happy-go-lucky and thinks little of screwing everything up for others.