This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.
After WW1 the Maltese colonial government failed to provide an adequate supply of basic food provisions for the islands. With the dramatic increase in the cost of living and scarcity of food, civil unrest resulted led by the desire for independence.
Following months of unrest, on the 7th of June 1919 a crowd attacked the property of wealthy people perceived as close to the colonial government. First the house of a leading grain importer in Old Bakery Street was attacked. The next day a crowd attacked the palace of Colonel Francia (now known as Palazzo Ferreria), who also owned a flour-milling machine. The Royal Malta Artillery soldiers protecting Francia’s house were reluctant to use force against their compatriots. The crowd forced its way in and threw furniture, silverware and other objects outside. In the evening, one hundred and forty navy marines arrived, clearing the house and street of crowds. Carmelo Abela was in one of the side doorways of Francia’s house, calling for his son. Two marines proceeded to arrest him, and when he resisted, a marine ran him through the stomach with a bayonet. Abela died on June 16.
Think about: the wealth of the Francia family and its current history as Farsons; the colonial heritage, the palazzo’s modern role as the Ministry for Family and Social Solidarity
– The Malta Independent – Sette Giugno – Carmelo Abela
– The Malta & International Football Collection: Palazzo Ferreria (comprehensive information)