Malta Sette Guigno

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Malta Sette Guigno (Commemoration of Uprising of June 7, 1919)

June 7
The Republic of Malta is a small country in the central Mediterranean that consists of seven islands. In 1798 Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Malta and took power. The people of Malta did not want to be under French rule, so the country asked the British to help compel the French to leave. In 1799, the British Navy forced the French to withdraw. The Treaty of Paris, signed on May 30, 1814, made Malta 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 the country allowed the British to use its dockyard and hospitals. Thousands of sick and wounded soldiers were brought to Malta, thereby earning the country the title of the "Nurse of the Mediterranean."
Although the war brought jobs to the country, the wages were relatively low. Many Maltese found it hard to make ends meet. The high cost of living created serious problems for many Maltese. These factors and others prompted riots in Valletta on June 7, 1919. During the riots, four Maltese were killed by British troops. The victims included Guzeppi Bajada, Manwel Attard, Wenzu Dyer, and Karmenu Abela. This tragic event became known as the Sette Guigno Riots.
The 1919 riots impelled the country to establish the first responsible government in Malta in 1921. It was the first time Maltese citizens could elect Maltese members of Parliament.
Today, Malta recognizes the anniversary of the riots as a national holiday. Every year on June 7, Malta holds a commemorative ceremony at Palace Square in Valletta, in front of the House of Representatives. Bouquets of flowers are placed on the monument of the Sette Guigno victims at Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows) cemetery. The commemorative celebration also includes marches by the Police Corps and the playing of the national anthem L-Innu Malti, and a moment of silence in memory of the four fallen men.
Malta Council for Culture and the Arts
230 Republic St.
Valletta CMR 02 Malta
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