Bryant Rousseau has a NY Times piece on the history of Maltese:
Over the centuries, other languages and dialects have been layered on top of Maltese’s Arabic core, to the point that Sicilian and Italian words account for about half the vocabulary today, and English, Malta’s other official language, around 10 percent. […]
“For me,” said Michael D. Cooperson, a professor of Arabic language and literature at the University of California, Los Angeles, “the fascination of it is that every sentence seems to sum up the history of the Mediterranean.”
The link was sent to me by Slavomír “bulbul” Čéplö, who knows this stuff, and it gets his seal of approval.