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Subnational Flags (Malta)

Last modified: 2002-02-16 by santiago dotor
Keywords: malta | subnational | municipality | banner of arms |
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The Republic of Malta is composed of three regions (Ghawdex, Malta Majjistral, Malta Xlokk) and 68 local councils. The Maltese regional flags are, consequently, most probably municipal. Look at the Local Councils page of the Maltese Government Official Website: all local councils are headed by mayors. However, the municipalities are primary subdivisions in some small states, but their flags and coats-of-arms are not regional in the strict sense. The Maltese municipal flags are usually banners-of-arms and all coats-of-arms are available in the said Local Councils page.

Jan Zrzavy, 26 February 2000

Eleven (numbers 1 through 11) of these municipalities have city status, symbolized on the coat of arms by the presence of a mural crown — village coats-of-arms appear to lack crowns.

António Martins, 1 March 2000

According to the images sent to me by Thomas Borg from Mellieha and drawn from a local book, all the banners-of-arms for Maltese local councils have proportions of 3:5 and not 1:1.

Pascal Gross, 1 March 2000

The flags [as illustrated in FOTW] are basically correct. [The following flags] are wrong:

  • Siggiewi
  • Attard: the center of the cross is white in the poster
  • Mellieha: wrong for the old flag but correct for the current one
  • Msida: the central diagonal green stripe has same width as the white ones in the poster (or perhaps is a bit smaller that the white ones)
  • Munxar: this is correct, but in the poster shows 8 points instead of 7
  • Naxxar: this is the current flag, the old one was white over red, with reversed colors cross [sic]
  • Qrenbdi: wrong for the old flag (the yellow border must be eliminated, the shade of blue is darker) but correct for the current one
Also Attard, Birzebbuga and Floriana changed their flag but their design is not know for me. Zebbug also changed and new flag is in Havsom 2. Lija, Mellieha, Mgarr, Nadur, Naxxar, Paola and Qrendi changed their flags. Xghajra y Zurrieq are in process to change their flags (perhaps the process is already ended but I don't have news).

Jaume Ollé, 5 March 2000

Malta and Gozo, are divided into sixty eight Local Councils each of which has its own coat of arms and the flag of that Council is a banner of the arms, the dimensions of which vary, and are sometimes suspended from a cross-bar. Eleven of the local councils are cities, and the arms of these are augmented by a coronet, which do not appear in the banners, but usually manifest themselves as finials.

Adrian Strickland, 30 November 2000

Note that the mural crown on the national arms has five towers, that on Valletta's coat-of-arms (image at the Maltese Government website) four towers and those on the other ten cities have only three towers (for instance see the Siggiewi coat-of-arms at the Maltese Government website).

Santiago Dotor, 22 December 2000

Città Nicknames

Each of the [eleven] cities seem to have a nickname. Siggiewi is Città Ferdinand, Zejtun is Città Beland, Rabat (Ghawdex) is Città Vittoria, Zebbug is Città Rohan (yet another Grand Master of the Order of Malta) and Zabbar is Città Hompesch. Birgu and Bormla might also have such nicknames but the images on the Maltese Government website were scanned from a different source and lack any inscription. The nicknames given seem to be in Italian, mind it — not in Maltese, which is a very different language.

António Martins, 1 March 2000

If my recollection of Maltese (Malti) serves me, Rabat means 'suburb', while Mdina (pronunced 'imdina') means 'walled city'. The Rabat on Malta [island] is the suburb of Mdina. I have no recollection of Rabat on Gozo being the suburb of anything, but perhaps it once was.

Ole Andersen, 10 March 2000

It still is. The Citadel of Rabat or Victoria is the main building and the city outside it is regarded as the suburb or Rabat.

Jarig Bakker, 10 March 2000

According to the Maltese Government website the eleven cities of Malta have each, apart from the normal name, a title or nickname:

  • 1. Valletta, most humble [humilissima] city
  • 7. Zebbug, Rohan city
  • 8. Zabbar, Hompesch city
  • 9. Siggiewi, Ferdinand city
  • 10. Zejtun, Beland city
  • 11. Rabat, Vittoria city
Apart from Valletta's, all other nicknames refer to Grand Masters of the Order of Malta — except perhaps "Vittoria".

António Martins, 23 March 2000

According to Strickland 1999, the nickname Città Umilissima was given to the city by its founder, Grand Master de Vallette in 1568. I guess the Italian name has been maintained as historical. I guess again that Italian was more or less the official language of the Order of Malta. Moreover, Strickland 1999 lists only ten cities [sic]:

  • The "Three Cities", that withstood the Great Siege by the Turks (1565):
    • Birgu (Città Vittoriosa)
    • L'Isla or Senglea (Città Invicta)
    • Cottonera (Città Cospicua)
  • Valletta (Città Umilissimma)
  • Qormi
  • Zebbug
  • Zabbar
  • Zejtun
  • one more city, not listed due to not having a flag influenced by the Order of Malta.
The first eight cities received their charters from the Knights of Saint John and their flags are largely derived from this connection with seven of them. The two remaining cities are Mdina (ancient capital of Malta) and Gozo.

Ivan Sache, 23 March 2000

Actually Vittoria [Rabat-Ghawdex] was named after Queen Victoria in 1897 at her jubilee. Vittoria is a local variation of the name.

Jarig Bakker, 24 March 2000

Ivan Sache's information is quite strange, since it does not match the information at the Maltese Government website. This source confirms city status for Birgu, Isla, Valetta, Qormi, Zebbug, Zabbar, Zejtun and Mdina, and also gives city status for Rabat-Ghawdex, Siggiewi and Bormla. And there is no city called Gozo (might be reffering to Rabat-Ghawdex or Città Vittoria, the only city on Gozo Island) and I cannot find any Cottonera (probably the Italian name for Siggiewi or Bormla)...

António Martins, 26 March 2000

Cottonera or Cotonera is the name of a line of fortifications around the Three Cities (Sengla, Isla and Bormla), about 3 miles long. From Ivan Sache's description Cottonera would be a synonym for Città Cospicua i.e. Bormla.

Jarig Bakker, 27 March 2000

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