Malta celebrates 40th anniversary of Freedom Day

It was 40 years ago that the last of the British forces left Malta, formally ending the island’s long history as a military base for foreign powers

President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca inspecting the guard of honour
President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca inspecting the guard of honour

Flowers were laid at the Freedom Day monument in Birgu this morning in a formal ceremony commemorating the day when British military forces left Malta for good. 

In a short ceremony, President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Opposition leader Adrian Delia were greeted by the Armed Forces of Malta guard of honour.

On 31 March, 1979, just 15 years after becoming independent, Malta waved goodbye to the last British service ships after the lease agreement allowing them to use the island as a military base came to an end.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

The day is commemorated by the traditional regatta boat races in the Grand Harbour that will see rowers from Bormla, Birgu, Isla, Kalkara, Valletta, Marsa and Birżebbuġa compete for the shield.

The regatta starts at 12.30pm and for the occasion Heritage Malta has opened up Fort St Angelo with reduced admission prices.

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