Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Malta and the Knights of St. John

The republic of Malta is located about 93 km from Sicily and covers a land area of about 93 square kilometers.

Malta is one of the most fascinating South European countries. It is a country rich in history, literature, cuisine and music, fascinating in architecture and pleasant in way of life.

In addition, the country has a solid infrastructure setting, as well as advanced media and communication systems .
Malta receives annually thousands of visitors and is a favorite vacation spot for British tourists.
A Short History of Malta
Malta was put under Napoleonic rule in 1798 and passed on to the British Empire in 1814 as part of the Treaty of Paris.
Malta achieved independence from Britain in 1964 and became part of the European Union in 2004.
Malta proceeded to join the Eurozone in 2008.

The Maltese Defenders of Christendom

Regarding Maltese history, one of the not so known but well documented historic events goes back to 1565.

In 1565 Grand Master Jean de la Valette and the Knights of St. John with an assembly of Sicilians and Greeks successfully protected Christendom and Europe from the then mighty Ottoman Turks.

However the trifles of the island and its conflict with the Ottoman Empire did not end there :
The country is strategically positioned in about the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and as such, is an ideal geographic location for both military and trade purposes.
The Knights of St. John, being driven out from Rhodes by the Turks at around 1522, reassembled in Malta where they continued their activities. Their relations with the Ottoman Empire however, were never at a high point.

Malta Yok !

Taking advantage of their strategic location, the Hospital Knights continued military and trade activities along with the continuous harassing of Ottoman and Arab ships. This eventually led to a decree by Ottoman Sultan Ibrahim the Mad, which demanded the total annihilation of the island country and decimation of the order.

As a result in the year 1645, the mighty Turkish armada set sail for the island of Malta in the western Mediterranean.
Upon receiving the Sultan's order, however, Ibrahim’s chief admiral, the Kapudan Pasha, accidently placed a candle on his naval map where the wax drippings fell on the little island until they covered it.

Thus failing to locate and triangulate his coordinates, the Turkish admiral declared to his adjutants “Malta yok,” or “Malta doesn’t exist“, and sailed off to attack the Venetians in Crete.

This has been recorded as one of the major foul ups of naval history, and gave the lucky Maltese a chance to reinforce their fortifications while robbing the Ottoman Turks of a rare once in a lifetime opportunity of assuming full control of the Mediterranean.

No comments:

Post a Comment