malta_valettaaerial.jpgValletta is the capital city of Malta, colloquially known as Il-Belt (The City) in Maltese. Geographically, it is located in the central-eastern portion of the island of Malta having its eastern coast with access to the Marsamxett Harbour and its western coast in the Grand Harbour. Valletta contains buildings from the 16th century onwards, built during the rule of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as Knights Hospitaller. The city is essentially Baroque in character, with elements of Mannerist, Neo-Classical and Modern architecture in selected areas, such as the Royal Opera House.

malta2.jpgCurrently in period of instability as the relations between the Maltese political elite, the Maltese church, and the British rulers grows tense; as a result the 1921 Constitution was suspended twice. First in 1930–32, following a clash between the governing Constitutional Party and Church and the latter’s subsequent imposition of mortal sin on voters of the party and its allies, thus making a free and fair election impossible. Again, in 1933 the Constitution was withdrawn over the Government’s budgetary vote for the teaching of Italian in elementary schools. Malta thus reverted to the Crown Colony status it held in 1813.

Before the arrival of the British, the official language for hundreds of years, and the one of the educated elite, had been Italian, but this was downgraded by the increased use of English. In 1934, English and Maltese were declared the sole official languages. That year only about 15% of the population could speak Italian fluently.4 This meant that out of 58,000 males qualified by age to be jurors, only 767 could qualify by language, as only Italian had until then been used in the courts.

In 1936 the Constitution was revised to provide for the nomination of members to Executive Council under British rule. However, due to the interest by the new German government in historical artifacts ‘significant to German heritage’ there has been an influx of German historians, scientists and tourists to Malta in the past few years. Specifically offices of the German Research and Teaching Community of the Ancestral Heritage (Forschungs und Lehrgemeinschaft das Ahnenerbe, or just Ahnenerbe or short) have opened in Valletta.


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