Media reported this past week on the death, on August 20th, at age 96, of Dominic “Dom” Mintoff, who was the 8th Prime Minister of Malta—first, from 1955 to 1958, when it was a Crown Colony of the United Kingdom, and again from 1971 to 1984, during which time he ushered the five-year-old independent commonwealth domain into its new status as a republic with no ties to the U.K.
A tiny, ancient archipelago, the reputed home (the Maltese island Gozo is presumed to be what the ancients called Ogygia) of Calypso from Homer’s Odyssey, as well as the isle on whose shores St. Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked, was Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Norman, Italian, and French, before the U.K. wrested it from Napoleon in 1814. At 122 square miles, it is the 9th-smallest independent state in the world.
|Odysseus had a grand old time in Malta.|
|St. Paul the Apostle didn’t have nearly as much of a grand old time in Malta as Odysseus had.|
Then again, read the New Testament: Paul didn’t know how to party.
|The flag of the Republic of Malta|
|Moammar al-Qaddafi and Dom Mintoff celebrating|
the departure of the last British troops from Malta in 1979.
[Also, for those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas. Look for it in spring 2013. I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]