March 31, 1979 is remembered in the Maltese calendar as Freedom Day (Maltese: Jum il-Ħelsien). This is the anniversary of the withdrawal of British troops and the Royal Navy from Malta. On taking power in 1971, the Labour Government indicated it wanted to re-negotiate the lease agreement with the United Kingdom. Following protracted and sometimes tense talks, a new agreement was signed whereby the lease was extended till the end of March 1979 at a vastly increased rent. On March 31, 1979 the last British Forces left Malta. For the first time in millennia, Malta was no longer a military base of a foreign power and it became independent de facto as well as de jure.
A monument on the Birgu (Vittoriosa) waterfront commemorates this event.
(... from Wikipedia on 2012-04-18 01:42:49)