THE MALTESE ASK TO GOVERN THEMSELVES
Since early Roman times, the Maltese always enjoyed some form of self-government, and during the Middle Ages, the "Consiglio Popolare" safeguarded our national rights. The
Knights weakened the "Consiglio" and the Maltese Council was formed during the French occupation to defend the liberties of the Maltese.
After the Maltese, out of their own free will, had placed Malta under British protection. Britain soon put aside such rights and, in 1819, the 'Consiglio Popolare" was dissolved. This began a long and hard struggle by the Maltese for a freer and more liberal Government and protection of their religion. Many petitions were sent to England, showing how Britain never conquered the Islands, how the Maltese had sent out the French, and how they themselves had asked for Britain's protection. In 1835, 1849 and 1887 Councils of Government were elected to help the Governor in the civil administration, but these did not satisfy the Maltese.
The 1887 Constitution was taken back in 1903 after a heated debate in Parliament about the teaching of English and Italian in local schools. Several elections were held after that date, but members always resigned in protest. As soon World War 1 ended, a strong protest was made against England (7th June, 1919). Through the heroic efforts of Sir Filippo Sciberras, the first true self Government was granted. The Maltese, full of joy attended the ceremony of the opening of Parliament by the Prince of Wales on November 1st. 1921.
Things went on well until the English-Italian language question came up again, together with some laws giving certain power to the Governor, when November 2, 1933. The Constitution was taken back. In 1939, a Constitution with a minority of Maltese representatives was granted, but war broke out and local Government was suspended
the courage of the Maltese during the Second World War won many promises. National Assembly drafted a new Constitution, and, in November 1947, an election for 40 members was held, in
Which women voted for the first time.
in 1958, Government resign Four years later, a
New Constitution for a Parliament of 50 members was given, making the Islands "The
State of Malta", and allowing freer relations with other countries, Finally, on the 21st September, 1964, Malta was granted a new constitution and it became an Independent Nation within the Commonwealth. In the meantime, the Island of Gozo was granted a separate internal Council to look after its interests.