One of significant reminders of its last colonial rule. The first inhabitation of the Maltese island can be dated back to 4000BC. Over the history it has been occupied by various rulers with the British empire being the last colonisers. British occupation started at 1800 when Malta voluntarily became part of the British Empire as a protectorate. Under the terms of the 1802 Treaty of Amiens, Britain was supposed to evacuate the island, but failed to keep this obligation. During the Second World War the Maltese people resisted the attacks and defended their island so courageously that in 1942, Malta was awarded the George Cross (the only time that the medal was awarded to a whole nation). After the Second World War, the islands achieved self-rule. Following the Maltese constitutional referendum, on 21st September 1964, Malta became an independent state as a Constitutional Monarchy, with Elizabeth II as its Head of State and on 13th of December 1974, Malta was declared a Republic.