Catalogue of Colonial Despatches presented to the Library of the University of Malta The Fondazzjoni Memorja Kulturali Nazzjonali, a Maltacom plc initiative presided over by President Emeritus, Dr Ugo Mifsud Bonnici has just compiled an important reference tool for scholarly research at the National Archives. An eight volume index catalogue and accompanying set of floppy discs have been created covering all the colonial despatches between Malta and London between 1800 and 1851. The work was carried out by Mr Joe Caruana, Mr Giusé Cassar Pullicino and Architect Michael Ellul over a period of nine months. Their compilation and calendaring required the reading of each despatch to determine its contents and the recording of each one according to subject and date.

The despatches are of particular interest as they cover the initial period of Malta's colonial history and contain valuable social and political information not only about Malta but concerning Mediterranean issues of the time. For example, one despatch concerns the idea of the setting up of a Greek university in Gozo while another warns that amunition was not to be sold to the Turks without prior permission from Britain. The despatches have a direct bearing on constitutional development, the emergence of a Council of Government, early elections to representation on this body, freedom of the press, and Church-State relations.

This catalogue of colonial despatches will be of enormous interest to history scholars who will benefit from the search facility available on the floppy disc version and the particularly user-friendly design of the catalogue itself.

The catalogue was presented to the Library of the University of Malta by Dr Ugo Mifsud Bonnici and was received by the Rector Professor Roger Ellul-Micallef. Maltacom plc was represented by Mr Patrick Curmi.


06 June 2001