It was at my favourite book store in Chennai during my high school days that I first saw a stamp from Malta. Till then I never knew that such a country exists. I bought the stamp on impulse immediately. That was the only Malta stamp in my collection for several years.
In 2002-03 I was trying to have penpals in countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Spain, France, Greece, Egypt, Tunisia, Israel were some of the countries in which I got penpals to exchange stamps. However, I desperately tried to get a penpal in Malta since I had only one stamp and also I was curious to learn about that country.
It took me couple of months to finally get a dependable penpal in Malta. He was a member of the Malta Philatelic Society at that time. He was a stamp connoisseur and collected fine used stamps only. He had a wish list for his Indian stamps collection, which I had fulfilled to an extent. In return I got very fine used stamps of Malta exchanged based on catalogue value.
The design, print, and the subject on the Malta stamps aroused my interest tremendously. Today, I have more than 800 stamps from Malta, most of which were received through my penpal there. I will visit Malta one day in the near future and wish to swim with my friend in the Mediterranean Sea! 🙂
The first Malta stamp that caught my attention at the bookstore:
This stamp was issued by Malta on 7 June 1985 to commemorate the happenings on 7 June 1919.
In Malta, 7 June is a national holiday because on that day the seeds for resistance to British occupation on the island were sown. Featured on the stamp are the portraits of Manwel Attard and Guze Bajada. Manwel Attard was the first victim of the uprising on 7 June 1919. He was shot by a British soldier. Guze Bajada was shot later and he fell on the Malta flag he was carrying.
The National Assembly that was planned on that day was disrupted because of the uprising. Two more persons died in the riot that followed. It reflected the unsatisfactory nature of political and economical life of the Maltese because of the disturbances in the agricultural and industrial output after World War I. A monument was built to honour the martyrs and 7 June declared a national holiday.