On March 31, 1979, remembered in the Maltese calendar as Freedom Day (Maltese Jum il-Ħelsien), Malta, for the first time in its history did not have any foreign forces present on it. This is the anniversary of the withdrawal of British troops. After thousands of years as a military and naval base, the Maltese had total sovereignty over their land.
The military base was closed after the United Kingdom refused to pay the emphyteusis due to Malta in 1979, and since the contract was due for termination on 1st April, the British Forces left Malta a day before.
A large monument in Birgu remembers this event in the history of the nation