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National Holiday – Victory Day

8th September

This national holiday marks three significant victories that the Maltese people have had over their usurpers during the course of history.

In 1565, the Sicilian fleet helped Malta and the Knights of St. John defeat the Ottoman Invasion. The Ottomans besieged Gozo in 1551, capturing its population and capturing Vittoriosa and Senglea. After losing commander Dragut Reis and most troops, the Ottoman attacks ceased on September 8th due to a bluff-defence from Mdina. This bloodiest battle is now known as The Great Siege of Malta.

The second of the three victories occurred in 1800, when the British Empire drove French troops out of Malta after a two-year blockade of Valletta’s French Garrison. Napoleon Bonaparte bombarded Valletta in 1798, removing the Roman Catholic Church and looting its property. Maltese nationals, led by Emmanuele Vitale and Canon Francesco Saverio Caruana, drove the French Garrison into Valletta. Together with Lord Nelson’s troops, Maltese soldiers blocked the French troops’ supplies, leading to their desperate need for rations. The French surrendered to the British Forces on September 4, 1800, known as The Siege of Valletta or the French Blockade, paving the way for the Napoleonic Wars.

The final victory of World War II for Malta in 1943 marked the end of the war. Malta was strategically important for the British Army, and the Axis forces attempted to take control of the island. The Axis bombed and starved Malta for two consecutive years, resulting in the Siege of Malta. However, a convoy named The Santa Marija Convoy arrived on Maltese shores on August 15th, bringing hope and helping the population and British Force survive starvation. On September 8th, 1943, Malta emerged victorious after the Italian navy surrendered, effectively ending the war. King George VI awarded the country and its people the George Cross, which was later incorporated into the national flag.

Source: https://www.festivals.mt/victory-day