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Republic of Malta, Repubblika ta' Malta

Last modified: 2000-01-21 by santiago dotor
Keywords: malta | george cross | hauteville | norman | cross: maltese | crown: mural | branch: olive | branch: palm | sun | coat of arms | flag of convenience | politics | partit nazzjonalista |
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by Zeljko Heimer
Flag adopted 21st September 1964, coat-of-arms adopted 28th October 1988

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First plain vertical white-red, on 28 December 1943 a representation of the George Cross proper was added (until 21 September 1964 -day of independence- on a small blue canton).

Mark Sensen, 7 November 1995

The George Cross first appeared on a blue canton and this was the design until independence on 21st September 1964, when the arms and flag were changed again. This time the blue canton was removed and substituted by a narrow fimbriation or fringe of red. This is the current official flag of Malta. All three versions of this flag may be found flying these days. Although the predominant one is the current official one, some elements, mainly in the southern part of the island still fly the undefaced version.

According to tradition the origin of the flag has various sources, however the most credible but not in any way verified (as yet) is the two colours, white/red, were originally squares, giving a ratio of 1:2. And these two squares come from the last two squares of the chequered flag of the Norman family of Hauteville. The Hautevilles (or Altavilla as they are called in nearby Sicily) were the Norman family that under Count Roger, conquered Sicily (and in 1090 also Malta). Shields of arms carved in wood and stone may be found all over Malta dating from before the arrival of the Knights of Saint John, notwithstanding the latters domination of these islands and their continuous erosion of the rights of the Maltese, during their 250 years of rule here.

Adrian Strickland, 28 March 1997

Legend has it that the original white and red come from Count Roger's flag wich was chequered in white and red and before he left Malta he cut out a corner and gave it to the Maltese.

Philip Serracino Inglott, 2 December 1998

The George Cross

This decoration was awarded on the 15th April 1942 by King George VI to the people of Malta to 'bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people' during the great siege it underwent in the early parts of WW2.

Mark Sensen, 7 November 1995

Some details on the Malta George Cross from the Malta Government Official Website:

While Italian and German bombers brought havoc to the Maltese islands, which were at first defended notably by three Gladiators named 'Hope', 'Faith' and 'Charity', the problem of supplies was soon felt. An invasion threat in July 1941 ended in complete failure when coast defenders spotted E-boats of the Decima Flottiglia Mas. Whilst people suffered hunger, a final assault was ordered by [German Field Marshal] Kesselring. But the people's heroism withstood every attack. On the 15th April 1942 King George VI awarded the 'George Cross' to the people of Malta in appreciation of their heroism.

Dov Gutterman, 8 April 1999

Here is a summary of what Adrian Strickland wrote in his book Malta Insignia. The Maltese Government introduced a system of honours, decorations and awards by Act XXIX of 1975. This was amended by Act XIV of 1990 which made provision for the production of National Commemorative Medals, and laid down certain limits on the number of times such medals might be struck in any period of ten years and the anniversaries that might be commemorated. The first was issued in 1992 to all those connected with the siege and supply of Malta and also to those who participated in attacks on the enemy from Malta.

David Prothero, 9 April 1999


[Coat-of-Arms (Malta)]
from The Maltese Government page

The emblem of Malta is described by the Emblem and Public Seal of Malta Act 1975 as a shield showing an heraldic representation of the National Flag of Malta; above the shield a mural crown in gold with a sally port and eight turrets (five only being visible) representing the fortifications of Malta and denoting a City State; and around the shield a wreath of two branches: the dexter of Olive, the sinister of Palm, symbols of peace and traditionally associated with Malta, all in their proper colours, tied at base with a white ribbon, backed red and upon which are written the words Repubblika ta' Malta in capital letters in black.

The Maltese Government

Local Council COAs

All Maltese towns COAs are at the Local Councils page of The Maltese Government website, just pick each one of them and you get its COA. Those of Gozo Island are also in this page.

Dov Gutterman, 12 December 1998

Naval and Civil Ensign

[Naval and Civil Ensign (Malta)]
by Zeljko Heimer

It is a red flag with a small white border and a large white Maltese cross.

Mark Sensen, 8 November 1995
Jan Zrzavy, 16 January 1998

Royal Standard

[Malta Royal Standard]
by Mario Fabretto

According to my sources Malta had a royal standard between 31 October 1967 and 1974 (Proclamation of the Republic). This royal standard included the old coat of arms.

Jaume Ollé, 30 March 1997

In the 1960s the British Queen adopted a personal flag which is quite separate from the Royal Standard and is a square royal blue flag bearing a crowned initial E within a ring of stemmed roses, all in gold. In Commonwealth countries which she is Queen of, a personal flag for that realm is used which consists of a banner of the arms of that country with a blue disk bearing the gold crowned 'E' and which is bordered by the gold ring of roses. So the Maltese standard referred to would fit that pattern, though technically it's not a standard but a personal flag. I'm pretty sure Barraclough gives chapter and verse on this, but it's a long time since I last saw a copy of that book.

Roy Stilling, 1 April 1997

1771 Flag

[Malta 1771 (Encyclopedia Britannica)]
by Randy Young

In the 1771 Encyclopedia Britannica Malta appears as a red Maltese cross on a white field.

Randy Young, 1 December 1998

Old Maltese flag with a Sun?

I got a strange old Malta flag for my collection a few days ago. The flag is of the 1943-1964 model, that is with the George Cross medal on a blue canton. What makes it strange though, is the cross itself because in the centre it bears an eight rayed sun (Taiwan/Namibia style). I am inclined to think that this is just an invention of the manufacturer -the flag is probably made in Bergen or Oslo here in Norway- because he did not know the exact details. Or is there any official justification for the sun?

Jan Oskar, 13 April 1997

Heraldry and Vexillology Society of Malta

[Heraldry and Vexillology Society of Malta]
by Adrian Strickland

The Heraldry and Vexillology Society of Malta (HAVSOM) Flag is based on the national flag of Malta, with a counterchanged 'pile' or 'V' to indicate vexillology. Upon the V is a counterchanged shield, with a 'George Cross' which ends up as the national shield of arms of Malta, to indicate the interest in heraldry. Since the use of the George Cross is restricted by law, the Society had to obtain official permission from the Prime Minister of Malta to be able to reproduce this on our insignia. This approval was granted in February 1997.

Membership in the Society entitles members to attend the monthly functions, usually a visit to a vexillological or heraldic site, to attend lectures on Heraldry and Vexillology at Malta University and to the journal of the Society. Full details can be obtained from Adrian Strickland.

Adrian Strickland, 12 June 1997

Air Force Roundel

[Malta Air Force Roundel]
by Ivan Sache

Source: Album des Pavillons et des Marques distinctives.

Ivan Sache, 9 July 1997

Political Parties

Nationalist Party / Partit Nazzjonalista

This reported Maltese UFE is the flag of the Partit Nazzjonalista (Nationalist Party) of Malta. It consists of the Malta coat-of-arms on a dark blue field and the letters 'P' and 'N' in the third and fourth corners respectively.

T.F. Mills, 11 December 1998