The end of the War found Malta, like the rest of Europe, physically and economically shattered. In proportion to the size of the population, loss of life had been high; Valletta and several of the larger cities were
In ruins, roads and public services were badly damaged and the Harbour installations, so vital to Malta's commerce, had practically ceased to exist.Fresh elections were held in 1962, Nationalist Government under Dr. George Borg Olivier was returned and immediately started negotiations with the British Government to obtain Independence, which was achieved on the 21 st September. 1964
A new Constitution was granted Malta in 1947, with the franchise extended to all males and females over the age of 18. Malta's first Labour Government was elected and immediately undertook an extensive and long-overdue programme of social services, but the economic situation could not be improved to any great extent, particularly as Malta did not benefit directly from Marshall Aid.
the rundown of the British Services proceeded apace and discharges from the military and civilian establishments became the order of the day. Political unrest was again rampant and the issue was eventually crystallized into the alternative between Economic Integration with Britain and complete Independence. This led to the resignation of the Labour Government and the Constitution was suspended.
In 1971 the Labour Government was again returned to power under Mr. Dom Mintoff and Malta was declared a Republic on the 13th December 1974.
The last British Forces left Malta on the 31st March, 1979, the anniversary now being Malta's National Day.
OUR RIGHTS AND DUTIES
The Constitution gives us, as citizens of Independent Malta, certain rights and safeguards for a decent life and personal, freedom. The State provides us with education to the highest level. It affords us
Facilities to train in a chosen job or
Profession. Law regulates hours and other conditions of work.
Granted the same rights and wages as men.
Even the disabled are entitled to proper
Education and training.
No citizen may be condemned without fair trial. All private property is safeguarded and no difference exists before the state for race, colour or belief. Every citizen has a right to vote in the elections.
As good Maltese we should do our best to respect all laws, be well mannered and courteous with everyone especially the old visitors. We should keep all our places as clean as possible and respect public property. Remember that a shabby appearance of our Islands gives a very bad impression of our character to the visitors.
After Independence, our national flag continued to be red and white with a representation of the George Cross with a thin red edge around it in the upper corner of the white part.
The hymn written by Dur Karm Psaila, 'Lil din I-Art Helwa' 1-Omm, 'li tatna Isimha' was declared as the National Anthem.
The Maltese language be came the national language.
A new coat of arms was produced in which the whole character and history of Malta was figured. Two dolphins support the white and red shield, one with
Palm branch and the other with an olive twig. Representing Victory and Peace, blue waves underneath the shield represent the surrounding Mediterranean Sea and the Maltese eight-pointed Cross reminds us of the connection with the Order of St. John.
A crown shaped like a fort with eight octagonal turrets surmounts a helmet, with red and white ribbons. The motto ' Virtute et Constantia ' (by Valour and Firmness) shows that the glory of Malta was achieved by hard work, self-sacrifice and endurance. At the same time this is an indication of the virtues we have to put into practice to ensure a better future.
The long cherished wish of the Maltese to govern their own Islands and plan for their own future was achieved on 21st September 1964. This is a very important date in our
History. It marks the end of foreign rule and the beginning of an era when we ourselves became fully responsible for both the government and the very life of the Maltese nation.
The struggle for Independence was rather long and hard; all our history shows this On 20th August 1962, the Maltese Prime Minister presented a formal request to the British Government to grant Independence to Malta. A conference between the two Governments was opened in London the following year. At the end of the talks, Britain agreed to grant the Maltese request. After a Referendum, the Maltese accepted the Independence Constitution and the Queen signed the relative Act. 21st September 1964, was fixed as Independence Day.
Preparations were soon taken in hand for a fitting celebration of this great event. Visitor poured in from all parts of the world, Governments of many nations sent their representatives here. Her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.
, represented the Queen
Midnight between 20th and 21st September was the climax of the hopes and joys of all the Maltese. The Independence Arena was a splendid sight. Flags representing all countries fluttered in the September breeze. A floodlit pole with a Union Jack stood in the centre. At midnight, the Archbishop delivered a dedication prayer and blessed the new Maltese flag. As the bands played the 'God Save The Queen', the Union Jack was slowly lowered and the Maltese flag was hoisted. All lights were switched on and the people started chanting the National Hymn 'Lil Din I-Art Helwa' Firework displays, hand marches and tremendous ovation by all present greeted the unfurled Maltese colours, the symbol of the new Independent Nation of Malta. The next morning, Prince Philip, in the name of the Queen, handed a copy of the Constitution to the Prime Minister.
Independence is a turning point in our history. Malta had to change its way of earning, a livelihood for her children. The Dockyard was converted to repair tankers and commercial ships. New industries were set up to afford and create jobs for the workers. Tourism was developed; hotels were built and new jobs were created in all sectors for Maltese youths.