The history of the town of Rabat goes back to some 2000 years ago when it still made part of the old Roman City, ‘Melita’. Some time later, the Byzantine restricted the City. With the Arab civilization, the city took the name of Mdina and the part outside the gates was called Rabat, meaning the suburb.
In the XV century, these surroundings served as a refuge from the continuous attacks by the pirates. It had also been in this century when in Rabat arrived all the religious orders, which are still here nowadays.
With the arrival of the Gerosolmitan Order of St. John, Rabat gained its importance for the fact that it was situatedso close to Mdina (sede Governattiva), for its connection with St Paul’s Grotto, for the Covent Schools and even for the fruitful agriculture which was beneficial to the surrounding areas.
During the British Colony in the second half of the XIX century, Rabat relived the introduction of the new social structures, the construction of the first primary school, the introduction of the first medical and postal servics, upgrading of spring water, street lighting and the introduction of the train transport service between Valletta and Rabat. It had also been in that era when the two music band clubs, L’Isle Adam and Count Roger were established.
But the major development took place in the twentieth century, particularly after the Second World War, when the population increased up to approx. 12000. This kept on happening all along the sixties and seventies.
Therefore this urged the need of new dwelling constructions in the various Rabat areas, such as Tal-Virtu’ and Ghajn Qajjet. Nowadays, this remarkable development distinguishes the old part of the town from the new.