25th anniversary of the opening of the National Archives Gozo

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25th anniversary of the opening of the National Archives GozoA Gozo Anniversaries exhibition is opening at the NAG-National Archives Gozo on the 24th of November – the day that marks the inauguration of the same institution twenty-five years ago.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to delve into history and find fascinating information, as well as facts and figures, such as in relation to:

How much did the Gozo Università, the regional Government of Gozo, paid for the upkeep of the lamps in front of Saint Ursula four hundred years ago? Who paid for the exorbitant costs related to the outbreak of plague in Gozo two hundred years ago? To what extent was the British Colonial Government involved in the establishment of the Diocese of Gozo one hundred and fifty years ago? How much did it cost to make a fireworks display for the occasion and where was it prepared? How was Governor Sir Leslie Rundle involved in the funeral of Archbishop Pietro Pace that took place in Gozo one hundred years ago? How is it that Gozo is not even given a mention in the official Independence Programme prepared by the Borg-Olivier administration fifty years ago?

At that time, to be frank, the majority were unaware of the happening notwithstanding that it was publicised as one of the official events commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of Malta Independent.

The number of those who understood the necessity of an archive was negligible. By the passage of years, the institution has tried with success to make itself more present in the community. As a matter of fact, a steadily increasing number of people began to visit and make use of the fonds at the archives. The number of researchers at the NAG during 2013 was 449, a significant increase of more than 53% on the previous year. The number of research hours amounted to 392, the number of items consulted to 768.

The annual exhibition at the NAG will this year commemorate, first of all, this twenty-five year long achievement. The Archives started with one fond, that of the Universitas Gaudisii with about 300 volumes, and twenty-five years later it has been enriched by a total of twenty-seven fonds and around 16,000 volumes and items.

The year 2014 marks a number of other important anniversaries in Gozo and it was decided to commemorate all of them with twenty-five documents and twenty-five illustrations.

400 years ago, on 21 October 1614, Eugenio-Romirez Maldonado, a former Governor of Gozo from Salamanca, donated a statue of Saint Ursula with a relic of her arm-bone to the Matrice, the present Cathedral Church.

200 years ago, on 18 February 1814, the dreaded bubonic plague that had raged in Malta the previous year, broke out in Xaghra-Gozo leaving some 104 victims.

150 years ago, on 16 September 1864, Blessed Pope Pius IX conceded to the requests and wishes of the priests and people of Gozo and established Gozo and Comino into an autonomous diocese through the Bull Singulari Amore – With remarkable love.

100 years ago, on 29 July 1914, His Grace Monsignor Pietro Pace, former bishop of Gozo (1877-1889) and archbishop of Malta, one of the most eminent Gozitans of all time, died in Victoria-Gozo.

50 years ago, on 16 September 1964, the Diocese of Gozo commemorated the one hundredth anniversary of its foundation.

50 years ago, on 21 September 1964, Malta and Gozo became an independent state and formal members of the Commonwealth.

25 years ago, on 24 November 1989, the Gozo section of the National Archives was officially inaugurated.

The exhibition is divided into two sections. The first consists of documents related to the various anniversaries being commemorated, a number of which has been brought from the National Archives, Malta. All of them are being exhibited for the first time.

The second compliments the written sources by a number of engravings and paintings related to the same. The exhibition will be officially opened by the Minister for Gozo Dr Anton Refalo, on the 24th of November, and it will remain open to the public until the 31st of December.

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