Last modified: 2011-06-03 by rob raeside
Keywords: malta | sliema | tas-sliema | star: 4 points (counterchanged) | star: stella maris | stella maris |
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3:5 image by António Martins, 1 March 2000
Blazon: Per pale Argent and Gules a mullet of four points counterchanged.
António Martins, 1 March 2000
According to the local council website:
Since our villages did not yet all have their coat-of-arms, just ahead of the visit of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) to Malta, 1876, the Scholar Nicola Zammit was asked to think them out and get them ready for the occasion. New ones have since been added and others modified, but the rest still remain the same. By that time Tas-Sliema was growing fast into residential area when formerly it was merely a budding summer resort, hardly noticed till the late eighteenth century when Fort Tigne' was built. Because the area had grown in a very short time it was given a coat of arms and a motto. The motto Celer ad Oras Surgo (hastily from the coast arisen) contrasting with the slow growth of many of our ancient villages and towns.So the flag, a banner of the arms, appears to be the Maltese colours with a counterchanged Stella Maris.
In old documents the area we know as Sliema was known as Qortin (...). Qortin is a topographical term, very common all over our Islands, indicating localities overlooking the sea or plains. The tip at the harbour entrance became known also as Dragut Point, because here the famous Muslim Commander Dragut (Turgut Reis) was wounded on the 18th and died on the 23rd June 1565 (...). It is (...) since the middle of the 19th Century that our area started to establish itself securely as Sliema or Tas-Sliema. In 1897 the Parish Priest requested the governor to elevate Sliema to town status, as other villages had made similar requests to Grand Masters, but officialdom regarded it as a mere suburb of Valletta. In 1903 a delegation requested the governor to rename Sliema "Edward Town" in honor of King Edward VII who was paying a visit to Malta, but the majority wanted to retain "Sliema".
Sliema is at the entrance of a harbour, and therefore, whatever the titulars of the early niche and chapels of the past, they were understood to greet seafarers and travellers into a safe haven, hence the term, Sliema and [Tas-]Sliema have been taken to mean Safe Arrival, or safe haven (...).
When Stella Maris church was built in the 1850s, (...) Tas-Sliema residents decided on the titular of Our Lady Star of the Sea, or Stella Maris, preserving the original concept of Our Lady as the Star Leading mariners safely into harbour. This star found its way in coat of arms as a permanent reminder.