Malta Freedom Day

Malta Freedom Day

March 31
The Republic of Malta is a small country in the central Mediterranean that consists of seven islands. In 1814, Malta became a crown colony of the British empire. Under British rule, the Maltese Islands helped the Allies during World War I. Hundreds of Maltese served as soldiers in the British regiments, and Malta allowed the British to use its dockyard and hospitals. Thousands of sick and wounded soldiers were brought to Malta for treatment, thereby earning the country the title of the "Nurse of the Mediterranean."
Malta also played an important role during World War II. The bravery its people showed during the war led to the country being awarded the George Cross, which is now displayed on its flag. On September 21, 1964, Malta was granted independence from Britain. On December 13 of that same year, Malta became a republic within the Commonwealth, with the President as head of state.
Although Malta gained independence in 1964, the British armed forces did not completely leave until March 31, 1979. It was at that time that the Maltese Prime Minister, Dom Mintoff, demanded that the British either pay a higher rent for their bases or withdraw. This freed Malta of foreign military occupation for the first time in history.
In Malta, Freedom Day is a public holiday that commemorates the day the last of the British military left the Maltese Islands. On this holiday, a ceremony is held at the War Memorial in Floriana. The main events of the day take place around the Freedom Day Monument in Vittoriosa. In the afternoon, a competitive regatta is held in Grand Harbour, where food and drink booths are set up along the harbor. The participants compete in traditional Maltese boats called id-dgh -ajsa Maltija.
CONTACTS:
Malta Tourism Authority
Auberge D'Italie
Merchants St.
Valetta VLT 1170 Malta
www.visitmalta.com
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