You may have heard of Sette Giugno, one of Malta's most important national holidays – but did you know what historical events it commemorates? Celebrated on 7th June, Sette Giugno remembers the tragic events of 1919 when the Maltese people rose against British administration, demanding representative government and better living conditions. It's a day that symbolises Malta's fight for democracy and social justice – and as employers, recruiters and jobseekers in Malta, it's important to honour the sacrifices made as we build a fairer future. Read on to learn all about the history behind the holiday.
Unrest and Struggle
In the aftermath of World War I, Malta faced challenging times with food scarcity and rising prices. Small uprisings emerged, demanding improved wages and living standards. The National Assembly meeting in 1919 heightened tensions, as extreme nationalist sentiments divided the population and led to confrontations between protesters and shopkeepers.
The Tragic Day
On 7th June 1919, a misunderstanding ignited anger when the Maltese flag, defaced with the Union Jack, sparked riots in Valletta. Violence escalated between soldiers and protesters, resulting in casualties. Three lives were lost and 50 individuals were injured, marking a pivotal moment in Malta's history.
Significance and Remembrance
The unveiling of the Sette Giugno monument in 1986 at Palace Square commemorates the sacrifices made during the riots. Sette Giugno was officially declared one of the nation's five national days. Each year, ceremonies are held, including speeches and wreath-laying, to honor the memory of this day. After being relocated, the monument was returned to its original location in 2016, serving as a powerful symbol of Malta's struggle for self-government, social justice, and equality.
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