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Malta: Independence Day

Malta celebrates Independence Day (Jum l-Indipendenza) on 21 September – the day in 1964 when it was granted independence from the United Kingdom.

Independence was by no means a foregone conclusion. For much of the 1950s the discussion about Malta’s political future centred upon arrangements for Malta to become a self-governing part of the United Kingdom, with representation in the House of Commons and autonomy in all matters except defence, foreign affairs and taxation.

The Maltese Labour Party supported integration or else outright independence. In a referendum in Malta in 1956 there was even a 77% vote in favour of integration – but only 60% of the electorate voted as the National Party (which favoured dominion status akin to that of Australia, Canada and New Zealand) boycotted the referendum, meaning that there was no majority for integration. And with the UK Ministry of Defence – the islands’ largest employer – reducing its commitment to the long-term future of naval dockyards on Malta, the idea of integration lost its appeal for the islanders.

The plan was unique in Britain’s colonial history – no other British colony was offered such a deal, and the United Kingdom government has consistently ruled out integration for any of its remaining Overseas Territories.

2 Responses to “Malta: Independence Day”

  1. Rob

    Interesting – I always thought Malta was a protectorate the same as Gibraltar. I know a lot of gaming companies have offices there as in Gib.

  2. Kay McMahon

    Yes, they do. There’s also a big HSBC call centre there. Malta used to be popular with British retirees but these days, since they’ve joined the EU, there’s more work for younger people.

    We have a very busy Malta forum (our busiest) with loads of info for anyone planning a move to Malta.

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