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

The torch atop of the monument was lit for the first time on the big day - 31st March 1979 by Mr Dom. Mintoff ,Malta's Prime Minister in those days. The monument in itself holds a series of symbolic messages. The rugged winding hill reaching the torch symbolics the long and hard way to achieve the Freedom. The British sailor shaking hands to the Maltese man symbolics that the British left Malta on very good terms. The Prickly Pear cactus surrounding the hill , was part of the Republic of Malta Coat of Arms in those days. For the Maltese , Freedom Day was a big achievment as after thousands of years Malta was governed by the Maltese without any fingerdipping of the foreign.
HMS London last english battle ship
HMS London last english battle ship