|Berġa ta' Aragona|
|Former names||Gibraltar House|
|Status||Intact in its original state|
|Town or city||Valletta|
|Design and construction|
The Auberge d'Aragon (Maltese: Berġa ta' Aragona) is one of the eight auberges built in Valletta, Malta, for the langues of the knights of the Order of Saint John. It currently houses the Ministry for EU Affairs.
Order of Saint John
The plot of land on which Auberge d’Aragon was built was bought for the sum of 80 scudi and 30 tari on 20 September 1569. The Auberge was designed by Girolamo Cassar in the 1570s, and it is the oldest Auberge in Valletta. It housed the langue of Aragon and Navarre. Auberge d’Aragon is the only Auberge which retained the original design by Cassar since it was not refurbished in the 18th century like the others. The Auberge suffered extensive damage during the Sicily earthquake of 1693, but it was soon restored.
French and early years of the British
When the French occupied Malta in 1798, the Aragonese knights left with the rest of the Order and their Auberge fell into the hands of French soldiers. In 1800, the British occupied Malta and the former Auberge was used by the Quartermaster. In 1822 it became the government printing press, and it remained so for two years until 1824. During the British rule over Malta, Auberge d’Aragon was also leased to a number of tenants, including the Bishop of Gibraltar George Tomlinson who took residence in the Auberge in 1842. In fact it was renamed Gibraltar House. At this time, a doric portico was constructed instead of the steps. This is the only addition from Girolamo Cassar’s original design.
Following Malta’s self-government in 1921, the Auberge was turned into a school. However, when Ugo Pasquale Mifsud won the elections three years later in 1924 and he became Prime Minister, the Auberge became the Office of the Prime Minister. This continued until the restoration of direct colonial rule in 1933, and in 1939 the Auberge was given to the British Institute. During World War II, Malta was heavily bombed but the Auberge d’Aragon did not suffer any major damage. Two years after the war ended, Malta was given the MacMichael Constitution in 1947. The Auberge was therefore once again used as the Office of the Prime Minister. Malta’s independence as the State of Malta in 1964 was drafted on a table in this Auberge, and the original table remains located there to this day.
Dom Mintoff won the election in 1971 and became Prime Minister. A year later, he moved the Office to Auberge de Castille where it remains to this day. The Minister of Education Agatha Barbara, who later became president, took the Auberge for her Ministry of Education and Culture. When the Nationalists won the 1987 elections, John Dalli, the Parliamentary Secretary for Industry, used the Auberge. He also used it later as the Ministry for Economic Affairs. This was later renamed the Ministry of Economic Services, and later Ministry of Finance and Economic Services. From March 2004 to 2012 the Auberge housed the Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs. It then housed the Ministry for Home and Parliamentary Affairs and later the Ministry for Home Affairs. Since 13 March 2013 it has been the house of the Ministry for EU Affairs.