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Why do we need to document the Maltese History,  particularly for Maltese living Abroad?

Maurice Cauchi

Maltese have been leaving the Maltese Islands in droves, particularly in the couple of decades after the second World War, in search of a better life elsewhere, particularly in Australia, Canada, UK and US. They and their descendants now constitute a Diaspora with a population comparable to that in Malta itself.  They have brought their culture with them and have always considered themselves as Maltese. 

It is only in the last couple of years that the idea that Maltese living abroad are also Maltese, and that they have not forgotten their homeland and their traditions.

However, it has not been easy for them to keep in contact with the culture of the homeland. Radio and to a lesser extent exposure to television and newspapers/newssheets has helped to keep them up-to-date with developments, but the majority have not had much of an opportunity to learn more about the history and other aspects of 'higher culture' of which Malta is such a rich source.

That was the aim of setting up the Maltese Historical Association some 30 years ago, to fill the void caused by distance and lack of facilities. Talks have been organised by this organisation on a month by month basis. Over the years these have accumulated to provide a substantial corpus of information which should be of interest to the average person, not only of Maltese background but anyone wishing to delve into the fascinating history of Malta.

However, talks are ephemeral things: once given, they are soon forgotten. Hence it was thought desirable to bring these talks back onto the MHA website so that they would be readily available to anyone around the world. We have to realise that while in Melbourne we have such a historical association, this is a unique situation, and nowhere else is there anything like it to inform the not inconsiderable Diaspora.

One problem with providing speakers on these topics is that to a large extent we lack professionals who are experts in the areas covered.  So one must make maximum use of visitors from Malta who on occasion do visit this country. For the rest, others, particularly members of the MHA have made it a point to delve into a particular subject of interest to them, and prepared a talk to share their interest with other members of the association.  The result is a kaleidoscope of information which is bound to be of interest to a large audience out there, who with a flick of switch can access a website and read all about it.

These talks are not meant to replace monographs on the subjects discussed – most of these monographs are not available to most Maltese living abroad. They are meant to provide a glimpse, an introduction, to the topic, which can then be researched in greater detail by anyone who is so inclined. 

It is hoped that in this way, the major effort of the MHA in transmitting our rich historical culture to a broader audience living overseas will result in ensuring that Maltese culture will be maintained for longer.


Maurice Cauchi


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