After more than 150 years of presence in Malta, it is obvious that the British have left many marks on the island.
The first? The english language is one of the two official languages of the country (with the Maltese of course). And yes, here, almost everyone is bilingual! But that is not all: just walk in the capital Valletta and see the different cafes with english names, or the British letter and phone boxes to realize the presence of the British. Maltese also drive on the left, like in the United Kingdoms.
But why have the British occupied Malta? Remember our last post about the French Occupation. In 1800, the Maltese requested assistance from the British Empire in order to get rid of the French. Once done, the British troops had to return the territory to the Order of Saint John according to the Treaty of Amiens. This was overturned by the Treaty of Paris signed in 1814, so Malta became officially under British control until its independence in September 21, 1964.
The archipelago had a strategic position for the British, particularly during the First and Second World War. It was used as a resources suppliers, as well as a hospital. In fact, wounded soldiers were sent for cure to Malta, which was named the “Nurse of the Mediterranean”.
King George V awarded to the Maltese his George Cross, as a recognition for their courage during WWII. In fact the archipelago underwent massive bombings from Germans and Italians, in their fight against the British.
On September 21, 1964, Malta gained its independence. But only in 1974 has it proclaimed the Republic. The British forces remained until 1979, with the closure of their last military base.
Malta, now an EU country also belongs to the Commonwealth. It has kept a visible legacy from the British era, the links between the two countries remain strong.