December 13 – Republic Day in Malta

Posted on December 13, 2015

On this date in 1974, the Maltese amended (changed) their Constitution to make their nation a republic.

I got to wondering what sort of government Malta had before 1974. The truth is, with its amazing location perched between North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, and its amazingly good Mediterranean weather, Malta probably experienced almost every sort of government. At least part of this nation's archipelago of islands has been ruled by the Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights of St. John, French, and British powers.

Here are a few sorts of governments that exist (or have existed) in the world:

(1) Democracy – the people vote on laws for themselves
    NOTE: This is not practical for large groups, let alone really large groups. A club of 15 members or even a school of 50 students might be able to have a true democracy, but a city of tens of thousands or even millions, let alone a country of tens or hundreds of millions of people, cannot possibly meet in a room and hash out the laws, all together.
(2) Republic – the people elect lawmakers who vote on laws
    NOTE: All modern “democracies” are really democratic republics.

(3) Monarchy – when a king, queen, emperor, raja rules a nation or empire

NOTE: These days, most all kings and queens are, figureheads who wield no political power. According to my sources, there are no large monarchies today.

(4) Aristocracy – when a group of wealthy, generally educated people rule

NOTE: Many monarchies have really been aristocracies.

(5) Dictatorship – when one person or a group of people rule by force

NOTE: Many dictators claim to be “presidents” or some other democratic-sounding title and run so-called elections that have only one name on the ballot or are in some other way unfair. In other words, dictators don't generally admit that they are dictators!

To answer my question, from its independence in 1964 until it became a republic in 1974, Malta was ruled by a Governor-General who did so on behalf of the Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. But there was also a parliament made up of elected lawmakers. I guess Malta was a parliamentary monarchy.

Some of my favorite facts about Malta:

  • Scientists think that the seven small islands that make up Malta used to be connected to modern-day Sicily by a land bridge. That land bridge is now 330 feet below sea level!
  • One of the islands of Malta has just one resort on it. And four of the islets are totally uninhabited!
  • There are, among the seven islands, zero mountains, rivers, or forests!
  • English and Maltese are the two official languages. I love a gorgeous and ancient land where the people speak English!
  • The Ta'Qali Crafts Village includes all sorts artisans who sell their varied crafts straight from their workshops – which were built from no-longer-used World War II airplane hangars!

  • There are plenty of cool and amazing buildings from many different eras. I tend to love ancient stuff, and there is plenty of that on Malta. This is called Mnajdra and is a temple complex.

  •  Malta has been used in many movies and television programs. Here we see Popeye's Village and a guidebook to Game of Thrones locations:

To learn more about Malta, check out this and this other earlier posts. 

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