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Was daar enige nuwe militêre innovasie tydens die beleg van Malta?

Was daar enige nuwe militêre innovasie tydens die beleg van Malta?

In die beleg van Malta verdedig die Knights Hospitaller die eiland, ondanks die feit dat dit baie in getal was deur die indringende Ottomaanse troepe. Malta was so 'n klein eiland, die Turke was destyds die meesters van die Middellandse See en die Ridders was in die minderheid, sodat hierdie geveg in Europa bekend geword het.

Het die ridders tydens hierdie verdediging enige noemenswaardige nuwe taktiek/strategie gebruik wat tot hul sukses bygedra het? Iets kreatiefs wat daarna nageboots is?

Of is hul sukses hoofsaaklik veroorsaak deur 'normale' faktore soos die sterkte van die vesting of foute van die Ottomane?


Die antwoord is ja. Terwyl die sterkte van versterkings en verskriklike foute van die Ottomane (ek sou die groot vasberadenheid en strategie van verdedigers as 'n derde voorwaarde beskou) 'n baie belangrike rol gespeel het, het Hospitaalwerkers tydens die beleg ook 'n soort defensiewe wapens gebruik wat nie beskikbaar was nie vir enige ander magte van hul tyd.

Ek beveel die lesing aan van memoires wat geskryf is deur Correggio, een van die boetiekbesighede wat tydens die beleg op Malta geveg het. Maar aangesien ek geen Engelse aanhalings daaruit kan gee nie, haal ek die boek "Malta 1565: Last Battle Of The Crusades" deur Tim Pickles aan.

Ons kan daar lees oor die beroemde Griekse vuur, waarvan die geheim (volgens Correggio) tydens die kruistogte deur die Hospitale gesteel is uit die Bisantynse Ryk. Maar wat belangrik is, Holy Knights het dit verbeter deur die nuwe uitvinding van spesiale hoepels.

Dit het vanaf die eerste dae van Junie 'n deurslaggewende rol gespeel gedurende ten minste 'n paar belangrike dae van die beleg (maar waarskynlik baie meer daarvan). Tim Pickles skryf daaroor:

Dit was nou die tyd om wapens te gebruik wat die verdedigers op so 'n oomblik voorberei het: Greek Fire, 'n soort napalm molotov -stert in die erdepotte wat tot 30 meter lank gegooi kan word. Die Trump, 'n primitiewe vlamgooier wat 'n paar meter lank die vlam afgegee het, gevoed deur swaelhars en lynolie; en die vuurwerkring van ligte hout geweek in gedroogde en soortgelyke vlambare vloeistowwe en bedek met kruit. Hierdie laaste wapen is spesiaal ontwerp as 'n anti-personeel wapen teen die Turke. As dit aangesteek word, word dit dan met 'n tang oor die mure gegooi en op of voor die aanvallers beland, waarvan verskeie in een hoepel verstrengel kon wees. Hulle tradisionele Turkse gewade sou binnekort vlam vat en die uitwerking was verwoestend.


Hospitaal Malta

Malta is regeer deur die Knights Hospitaller, of Orde van Sint Johannes, as 'n vasaalstaat van die Koninkryk van Sicilië van 1530 tot 1798. Die eilande Malta en Gozo, sowel as die stad Tripoli in die moderne Libië, is aan die Orde toegestaan deur die Spaanse keiser Karel V in 1530, na die verlies van Rhodes. Die Ottomaanse Ryk het daarin geslaag om Tripoli in 1551 uit die Orde te vang, maar 'n poging om Malta in 1565 in te neem, misluk.

Na die beleg van 1565 besluit die Orde om hom permanent in Malta te vestig en begin 'n nuwe hoofstad, Valletta, bou. Vir die volgende twee eeue het Malta 'n Goue Eeu beleef, gekenmerk deur 'n opbloei van kunste, argitektuur en 'n algehele verbetering in die Maltese samelewing. [2] In die middel van die 17de eeu was die Orde die de jure eienaar oor 'n paar eilande in die Karibiese Eilande, wat dit die kleinste staat is wat die Amerikas koloniseer het. [ aanhaling nodig ]

Die Orde het in die 1770's begin afneem en is erg verswak deur die Franse Rewolusie in 1792. In 1798 het die Franse magte onder Napoleon Malta binnegeval en die Orde verdryf, wat gelei het tot die Franse besetting van Malta. Die Maltese het uiteindelik in opstand gekom teen die Franse, en die eilande het in 1800 'n Britse protektoraat geword. Malta sou in 1802 deur die Verdrag van Amiens in die Orde terugkeer, maar die Britte bly in beheer en die eilande word formeel 'n Britse kolonie deur die Verdrag van Parys in 1814.


Luggeveg om vesting Malta

Supermarine Spitfires van No. 249 Squadron, Royal Air Force, verdedig Grand Harbour teen Junkers Ju-88s, Messerschmitt Me-109s en Reggiane Re.2001s.

"Fortress Malta," deur Nicolas Trudgian

Die vegvlieëniers van die Royal Air Force, insluitend 'n groep Amerikaanse vrywilligers, het 'n duur prys betaal tydens hul dapper verdediging van die strategiese argipel.

Op 21 Maart 1942 het vlieënieroffisier Howard Coffin, 'n Amerikaner uit Los Angeles en 'n vrywilliger by die Royal Air Force, gaan sit om die gebeure in sy dagboek op te neem. Hy vlieg vir ses maande met Hawker Hurricanes ter verdediging van Malta. 'Ons hotel is gebombardeer', het hy geskryf. “P/O Streets, die derde van die vier Amerikaners wat gaan, P/O Hallett, F/L Baker, F/L Waterfield, P/O Guerin, P/O Booth, het hul lewens verloor. Hierdie dag sal nooit vergeet word nie ….Vier skepe het in die hawe gesink. Hospitale het gebombardeer, kerke en dorp na dorp skoongemaak. Wat 'n slagting van menselewens. Tensy hulp spoedig kom, red God ons. Geen kos, sigarette, brandstof nie. Hulle doen baie ontruiming van Engelse vroue. ”

Malta, net 17½ myl by 8¼, is die grootste van verskeie eilande wat 'n argipel vorm in die middel van die Middellandse See, suid van Sicilië en byna op dieselfde afstand van Gibraltar in die westelike benaderings en Alexandria, Egipte, in die ooste. Malta was 'n buitepos van die Britse ryk sedert die vroeë 19de eeu, veral tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog, wat die Britse vloot- en vliegtuigeenhede 'n basis gegee het om op die as -toevoerroetes tussen Italië en Noord -Afrika te slaan.

Op 11 Junie 1940, die dag nadat Italië oorlog teen Brittanje en Frankryk verklaar het, het die Regia Aeronautica (Italiaanse Royal Air Force) het sy operasies teen Malta begin. Kort voor 0700 uur het Macchi C.200-vegters 'n groep Savoia-Marchetti SM.79-bomwerpers vergesel oor die 60 myl se see wat die argipel van Sicilië skei. Britse lugafweergewere het die Italianers aangegryp terwyl Malta se vegvliegtuig Gloster Sea Gladiators geskarrel het. Dit was die eerste van die talle aksies wat 2½ jaar lank sou voortduur, aangesien die Italianers, later bygestaan ​​deur hul Duitse bondgenote, probeer het om die eiland te neutraliseer en in beslag te neem.

Aanvanklik was die verouderde tweedekker van Fighter Flight die enigste lugverdediging van Malta. Hulle sou binnekort verewig word as Geloof, Hoop en Liefdadigheid (alhoewel daar ten minste vier vliegtuie op sterkte was). Die Gladiators is op 21 Junie verbind deur twee orkane, wat behou is nadat hulle op Malta geland het terwyl hulle op pad was na die Midde -Ooste. Die volgende dag arriveer nog ses in-orkaan, waarvan drie weer na Fighter Flight toegewys is. Maar dit het byna twee maande geneem voordat 'n poging aangewend is om verdere versterkings te stuur. Op 2 Augustus het 'n dosyn orkaan Mk. Is opgestyg by die vliegdekskip HMS Argus en vlieg 380 myl oor die Middellandse See na Malta. Een orkaan het op die Luqa-vliegveld beland en is afgeskryf, maar die res het by oorlewende vegters daar aangesluit om nommer 261-eskader te vorm.

Benito Mussolini se wankelende offensief teen Malta en die Britse Middellandse See -vloot, tesame met die Noord -Afrikaanse veldtog en Italië se inval in Griekeland, het Adolf Hitler uiteindelik tot hulp van sy bondgenoot gelei. Teen die einde van 1940 was elemente van die Luftwaffe se X Fliegerkorps (Air Corps) het vanaf Noorweë in Sicilië begin aankom. Middel Januarie 1941 het die Luftwaffe op Sicilië 'n formidabele reeks vliegtuie versamel wat Junkers Ju-87's en -88s, Heinkel He-111s en Messerschmitt Me-110s insluit.

Die aankoms by die Grand Harbour van Malta van die beskadigde vervoerder Glimmend in Januarie is gevolg deur dae van intense optrede terwyl die Luftwaffe probeer het om die skip by die vasmeerplek te laat sak, maar dit kon nie. Die episode word steeds onthou as die 'Illustrious Blitz'. Vir die vegvlieëniers van Malta was die ergste nog toe, vroeg in Februarie, Messerschmitt Me-109E's van die 7de Staffel (Eskader) van Jagdgeschwader (Fighter Wing) 26 is van Duitsland na Gela, op Sicilië, oorgeplaas. Die uitstaande eskaderbevelvoerder was Oberleutnant Joachim Müncheberg, 'n Ridderkruis -ontvanger met 23 oorwinnings. Die vinniger, kanon-bewapende Me-109E was meer as 'n wedstryd vir Malta's Hurricanes, en die Duitse taktiek was waarskynlik meer effektief as dié van die Royal Air Force. Gedurende die volgende vier maande sou 7/JG.26 ten minste 42 lugoorwinnings opeis (insluitend twee tydens die eenheid se kort betrokkenheid by die inval in Joego -Slawië). Twintig word toegeskryf aan Müncheberg. Ongelooflik dat nie een Messerschmitt oor Malta verlore gegaan het nie.

Eskaderleier Charles Whittingham het waarskynlik die algemene gevoel onder die RAF -vlieëniers uitgespreek toe hy op 14 Mei in sy dagboek skryf: ''n Ander vlieënier het afgekap. Die posisie word baie ernstig. Die moraal van die eskader is natuurlik baie sleg. Mense word teen 109's afgebreek - baie beter lugversorging in groot getalle en kan hulself agter die son plaas. Die Maltese kla self dat dit moord is om hulle op te stuur. Maar die hoofkantoor sal nie padgee nie. ”

Die vegvlieëniers van Malta het 'n blaaskans gehad toe middel-1941 die balans in lugmag tussen die teenoorgestelde kante in die sentrale Middellandse See verskuif het. Vir Hitler sou die prioriteit in Junie die inval in Rusland wees. Gevolglik het die Luftwaffe die meerderheid van sy vliegtuie op Sicilië herontplooi. Die oorlog in die Westelike Woestyn moes ook oorweeg word, en daarom is 7/JG.26 suidwaarts na Libië gestuur. Vir 'n paar maande sou die POF weer net die Italianers te kampe gehad het.

Intussen is 'n nuwe Malta -eenheid, 185 Squadron, opgewek, en 249 Squadron, onderweg van Brittanje na die Midde -Ooste, het ook aangekom. Sy vlieëniers is ingelig dat hulle op Malta sou bly sodat 261 eskader verlig kon word. In Junie is die eiland verder versterk met vegvlieëniers van 46 Squadron, waarna die eenheid herontwerp is met 126 Squadron. Op 12 November het 34 orkane wat deur vlieëniers van 242 en 605 eskaders gevlieg is, van die draers af opgedaag Argus en Ark Royal. (Die volgende dag Ark Royal is deur die Duitse duikboot gesink U-81.)

Met die aanvang van die winter het die Duitsers weer verskyn, aangesien vliegtuie van Rusland en Noord -Europa na die suide na Sicilië oorgeplaas is. Binnekort, II Fliegerkorps oorgeneem van die Regia Aeronautica tydens dagligbedrywighede oor Malta. Duitse aanvalle, wat op 'n relatief klein skaal begin het, het teen die einde van Desember in intensiteit toegeneem, met daglichtbomaanvalle wat sterk begelei is deur die nuutste Me-109F's.

Teen hierdie stadium van die geveg het Malta se lugmag toenemend kosmopolities geword. Aanvanklik was vegvlieëniers feitlik almal Britse offisiere en senior onderoffisiere wat in die RAF of Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve gedien het. Met verloop van tyd het vlieëniers aangekom uit die Dominions (veral Kanada, Australië, Nieu -Seeland en Suid -Afrika), Rhodesië en die Verenigde State.

Die eerste Luftwaffe -bomwerper wat in 1942 op Maltese grond geval het, is deur vlieëniers uit verskeie lande verloof. Op 3 Januarie vertrek twee Ju-88's uit Sicilië en suidwaarts na Malta. Vir Oberleutnant Viktor Schnez en sy bemanning, wat onlangs van die Oosfront af aangekom het, was hul derde Mediterreense missie. Dit sou ook hul laaste wees. Nadat Schnez hul taak verrig het, het orkane en lugafweergewere sy Junkers uitgesonder. Die Kanadese sersant Garth Horricks van die 185 eskader het in sy logboek opgemerk: 'Ek het Ju aangeval. 88 van agter af en steek sy hawe -enjin aan die brand. Dit het naby Takali neergestort. Die agterste skut het 10 koeëls in my vliegtuig gesit. Ek is in die linkerarm getref. ”

'N Ander orkaanvlieënier, American Pilot Officer Edward Streets van 126 Squadron, het berig: "Op patrollie as Red One - ongeveer 18.000 voet. Het een Ju 88 oor Luqa gesien - ook 3 of 4 109's. Aanval een (88) onmiddellik nadat Yellow 2 aanval gelewer het - Die vyand gevolg totdat alle tipes die hele tyd van ¼ na agter uitgeskakel het totdat dit ingedraai en gebrand het - dit tot 0 voet gevolg. 250 rondtes ammunisie afgevuur - Skiet vuur van die agterste skut af totdat hy ontsnap het. ”

Die Duitse bomwerper het naby die stad Żebbuġ neergestort. Vuurvliegtuigvuur het ook 'n Me-109 neergelê en daar is dood Onderoffisier Werner Mirschinka van 4/JG.53. Onder die vegvlieëniers van Malta is 126 eskader se vlieënier, Howard Coffin, lig beseer toe hy neergestort het nadat hy deur 'n paar Messerschmitt's geskiet is.

Kis was een van die eerste Amerikaners wat in September 1941 op Malta aangekom het, saam met vlieënier Edward Steele (vermis op 19 Desember 1941), Donald Tedford (vermis op 24 Februarie 1942) en Streets. "Junior" Streets was een van die ses mans wat verlore geraak het toe hul hotel op Mdina op 21 Maart 1942 gebombardeer is. Van die vier het slegs Coffin sy tyd op Malta oorleef.

Net drie Amerikaanse dooies is op Maltese begraafplase begrawe. Vier keer soveel ken geen graf nie. Onder laasgenoemde is vlieënier James Tew vroeg in die middag van 3 Maart 1942 dood nadat orkane van 242 en 605 eskaders geskarrel het om drie Ju-88's en 'n aantal Me-109's te onderskep. By hierdie geleentheid het drie Britse vegters verlore gegaan. Tew's Hurricane het by Marsaskalabaai neergestort, en daar is baie min van die vlieënier gevind. Die Kanadese vliegsersant David Howe het oor die land gered en sy enkel beseer, terwyl 'n ander Kanadees, sersant Ray Harvey, ernstig verbrand en dodelik gewond in die see gered het. Hy was dood toe Air-Sea Rescue opdaag. Daar was destyds gerugte dat hy geskiet is nadat hy sy valskerm gevat het.

In 1942 het die kans groot geword ten gunste van Malta se verdedigers toe op 7 Maart 15 Spitfire Mark Vbs van die vervoerder HMS in vlieg Arend en het by 249 Eskader aangesluit. Hier was uiteindelik 'n Britse vegter met die spoed en vuurkrag wat ooreenstem met die Me-109. Voor die einde van die maand is Malta versterk met nog 16 Spitfires. Intussen het gevegseenhede 'n mate van herorganisasie ondergaan. Nommers 242 en 605 eskaders is deur 126 en 185 eskaders opgeneem en op die 27ste is orkaan IIcs van 229 eskader van Noord -Afrika na Malta oorgeplaas.

Die bydrae wat die Maltese gelewer het, is op 15 April 1942 formeel erken deur koning George VI: 'Om haar dapper mense te eer, ken ek die George -kruis toe aan die eilandvesting van Malta om te getuig van 'n heldhaftigheid en toewyding wat nog lank bekend sal wees in die geskiedenis. ” Dit was die hoogste eer wat 'n Britse soewerein 'n gemeenskap kon toeken.

Malta se beproewing was egter nog lank nie verby nie. Vyf dae later vlieg 47 Spitfires van 601 en 603 eskaders van die Amerikaanse vlootdraer af Wesp. Almal behalwe een, 'n Amerikaanse vlieënier wat na Noord -Afrika vertrek het, het op Malta aangekom. Daar was die volgende dag drie groot aanvalle op die eilandnasie. Die derde aanval eindig met eise vir ten minste vier vyandelike vliegtuie wat vernietig is en verskeie waarskynlik vernietig en beskadig is. Maar Malta se vegvlieëniers het erger gekom. Van die vyf 126 eskader -vuurpyle wat die lug opgedaag het, kon drie nie terugkom nie. Een het neergestort nadat die vlieënier te laag deur 'n bomontploffing gevlieg het en uitgeskakel het. Twee val op Me-109's van JG.53. Die vliegsersant George Ryckman, 'n Kanadees, is as vermis aangemeld, terwyl die Amerikaanse vlieënier, Hiram Putnam, kritiek gewond is deur 'n kanonvuur. Sy Spitfire het in 'n staalradiomas gevlieg voordat hy daar naby neergestort het. “Tex” Putnam is die volgende dag aan sy beserings dood.

Teen die einde van die maand, aangesien ander fronte voorrang geniet, is voorbereidings begin om Luftwaffe -eenhede te herontplooi, waardeur die aantal Duitse bomwerpers en vegters in Sicilië verminder word. Aanvalle teen Malta sou voortduur, aangevul met bykomende Italiaanse vliegtuie.

Volgens Luftwaffe -rekords behels Malta -operasies tussen 20 Maart en 28 April 1942 5 807 sorteer met bomwerpers, 5,667 deur vegters en 345 met verkenningsvliegtuie - altesaam 11 819 soorte. In hierdie tydperk van 5½ weke het die gewig van bomme wat neergegooi is na berig word, meer as 7,228 ton oorskry.

Die onlangse aflewerings van Spitfire het beteken dat Malta sonder Hurricanes die stryd kon voortsit. Einde Mei het 229 eskader dus na die Midde -Ooste vertrek. Op 9 Junie, Arend lewer nog 32 Spitfires, wat byna almal sonder ongeluk beland het. Een van die nuut aangestelde vlieëniers was sersant George Beurling, 'n Kanadees wat by 249 eskader aangestel is. Beurling sou Malta se top-aas word en die suksesvolste van Kanada se vegvlieëniers. Hy was ''n positiewe meester in luggevegte en beskik oor fenomenale vaardighede in afbuigingskanonne', volgens die Amerikaanse vlieënieroffisier Leo Nomis, wat ook onthou dat van al die vegvlieëniers in Malta: 'Die enigste persoon wat ek ooit ontmoet het wat daar gehou het, was Beurling. ”

Einde Junie het 601 eskader Malta verlaat om by die swaar geteisterde RAF in Noord-Afrika aan te sluit. Julie het begin met 'n hernude as -offensief teen Malta wat die volgende twee weke sou voortduur.

Tydens 'n oggendaanval op 3 Julie het verskeie vyandelike vegters die kus op groot hoogte oorgesteek. Twaalf Spitfires van 126 eskader was in die lug. Alhoewel geen van die partye bewerings gemaak het nie, het twee Spitfires verlore gegaan as gevolg van meganiese probleme. Een vliegtuig kom van die kus af: vlieënieroffisier F.D. Thomas het ontsnap en is kort daarna opgetel. Die ander Spitfire duik reguit in 'n veld naby die stad Siġġiewi neer en val so sterk dat albei sy 20 mm Hispano -kanonne stewig in die grond lê. (Pogings om dit te verwyder was onsuksesvol, en die een kanon, minder werkende dele, en die vat van die ander was ter plaatse gelaat, 'n onbedoelde, maar indrukwekkende monument vir die lugslag om Malta.) Loodsbeampte Richard McHan, 'n boorling van Idaho, het borgtog gekry uit en beland naby sy neergestorte Spitfire. Hy is na 'n weermag se mediese fonds geneem en vir sy beserings behandel, waaronder 'n gebreekte enkel en harsingskudding.

Daardie somer het die aflewerings van Spitfire voortgegaan, waardeur 1435 Flight, wat voorheen ondoeltreffend was as 'n orkaaneenheid, weer toegerus en 1435-eskader kon kry. Maar om te oorleef, het Malta 'n konstante voorraad van lugbrandstof en ammunisie, vervangingsvegters en ander noodsaaklike voorsienings nodig. Op 3 Augustus het Operation Pedestal Skotland verlaat in die eerste fase van sy reis na die Middellandse See. Voetstuk sal lei tot die aflewering van ongeveer 32 000 ton voorrade, sowel as 37 Spitfires wat van HMS gevlieg is Woedend. Van 14 handelskepe het nege verlore gegaan, tesame met Arend, twee kruisers en een vernietiger. Van die vyf oorlewende handelaars, die Texaco -olietenkskip Ohio het die konvooie van Malta begin toon. Nadat hy deur torpedo- en bomaanvalle gedeaktiveer is, waarin een bomwerper op sy dek neergestort het, is die gehawende skip in die Grand Harbour gelei wat tussen twee vernietigers geslinger is en 'n ander een as 'n noodroer aan die agterkant vasgemaak is. Die datum was 15 Augustus, die Homselfees, plaaslik bekend as die Fees van die Heilige Maria. Sedertdien het die Maltese na Operation Pedestal verwys as Il-Konvoj ta 'Santa Marija.

Slegs 'n paar Amerikaanse vegvlieëniers is in 1941 na Malta gestuur. Daar is bekend dat twee-en-veertig daar in Spitfire-eenhede gedien het. Dit sluit in sersant Claude Weaver uit Oklahoma, wat tydens 'n offensiewe uitstappie oor Sicilië op 9 September neergeskiet is. , 1942. Hy het gekies om aan die vyandelike kus te land, eerder as om die kans te waag om oor die Middellandse See te ontsnap. Weaver is gevange geneem, maar hy ontsnap 'n jaar later en keer terug na Malta voordat hy kort daarna na Brittanje gevlieg word. Op 28 Januarie 1943, terwyl hy in 403 eskader dien, is hy weer neergeskiet en hierdie keer noodlottig beseer. Pilot Officer Weaver, DFC, DFM en Bar, word begrawe op die Meharicourt Communal Cemetery in Frankryk.

Namate die somer val, val die geveg voort. Op 11 Oktober 1942 het die Luftwaffe en die Regia Aeronautica het die eerste in 'n reeks aanvalle geloods in 'n groot poging om Malta te verpletter. Hierdie laaste aanslag van die as sou nog 'n week duur voordat die Luftwaffe sy strategie verander en daglichtbomaanvalle vervang met vegvliegtuie en vegbomaanvalle. Maar nou was daar uiteindelik hoop vir die beleërde Malta.

Na 'n suksesvolle geallieerde offensief by El Alamein in Egipte, het Anglo-Amerikaanse magte op 8 November in Frans-Noord-Afrika geland. Vir Malta was 'n gebrek aan voorsiening steeds 'n probleem, hoewel die situasie verlig is deur voorraadopnames deur individuele skepe en duikbote. Eers op 20 November kon die beleg as verby beskou word, met die aankoms tydens Operasie Stoneage van vier handelaars: Bantam (Nederlands), Denbighshire (Brits), Mormakoon (Amerikaans) en Robin Locksley (Amerikaans).

Vyandelike lugaanvalle het 'n geruime tyd voortgegaan, hoewel slegs sporadies en op 'n baie verminderde skaal. Die koste vir beide kante was hoog, met meer as 1 000 vliegtuie afgeskryf en duisende militêre personeel en burgerlikes dood en beseer. Maar Malta is nooit verslaan nie.

In Julie 1943, twee maande nadat die Afrika Korps oorgegee het in Tunisië, speel Malta 'n prominente rol as die Geallieerde hoofkwartier en as 'n voorwaartse lugbasis tydens die Geallieerde inval in Sicilië. Italië kapituleer kort daarna, op 8 September. Twee dae later begin die Italiaanse vloot onder begeleiding by Malta byeenkom. Dit was 'n gepaste huldeblyk aan die Maltese en aan almal wat hul eiland verdedig het.

Die Britse skrywer Anthony Rogers spesialiseer in navorsing en skryf oor die Mediterreense teater tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog. Sy boeke sluit die onlangse in Lugslag van Malta, wat aanbeveel word vir verdere lees.

Hierdie funksie verskyn in die Maart 2018 -uitgawe van Lugvaartgeskiedenis. Teken hier in!


Inhoud

Malta staan ​​op 'n onderwater rant wat van Noord -Afrika tot Sicilië strek. Op 'n sekere tyd in die verre verlede was Malta onder water, soos blyk uit mariene fossiele wat in rots ingebed is in die hoogste punte van Malta. Namate die rant opgestoot en die Straat van Gibraltar deur tektoniese aktiwiteit gesluit was, was die seevlak laer en Malta was op 'n brug van droë land wat tussen die twee kontinente strek, omring deur groot mere. Sommige grotte in Malta het bene van olifante, seekoeie en ander groot diere wat nou in Afrika aangetref word, onthul, terwyl ander diere inheems aan Europa onthul het.

Neolitiese en tempelperiode Redigeer

Alhoewel daar tot onlangs geglo is dat Malta se eerste inwoners in 5700 vC op die eilande aangekom het, is dit nou vasgestel dat dit ongeveer 5900 v.C. plaasgevind het, soos blyk uit studies oor antieke gronde. [2] Daar word algemeen aanvaar dat hierdie eerste Neolitiese mense uit Sicilië aangekom het (ongeveer 100 kilometer noord), [ aanhaling nodig ] maar DNA -analise toon dat hulle afkomstig is van verskillende dele van die Middellandse See, insluitend Europa en Afrika. [3]

Dit was hoofsaaklik boerdery- en vissersgemeenskappe, met bewyse van jagaktiwiteite. Hulle het blykbaar in grotte en oop wonings gewoon. Gedurende die daaropvolgende eeue is daar bewyse van verdere kontak met ander kulture, wat hul invloed op die plaaslike gemeenskappe gelaat het, blyk uit hul pottebakkery -ontwerpe en kleure. [ aanhaling nodig ] Die boerderymetodes het die grond verswak en oor die eeue het die eilande te droog geword om landboupraktyke te onderhou. Dit het deels plaasgevind as gevolg van klimaatsverandering en droogte, en die eilande was ongeveer 'n millennium lank onbewoon. [3]

Navorsing wat as deel van die FRAGSUS -projek uitgevoer is, wat die ontleding van grondkerne uit valleie bevat, wat antieke stuifmeel en dierlike bewyse uit vorige omgewings bevat, het aan die lig gebring dat “skommelinge in klimaatsverandering Malta in sommige periodes van die geskiedenis onbewoonbaar gemaak het. Daar was 'n aansienlike breek van ongeveer 1 000 jaar tussen die eerste setlaars en die volgende groep wat hulle permanent op die Maltese eilande gevestig het en uiteindelik die megalitiese tempels gebou het. " [4]

'N Tweede golf van kolonisasie het omstreeks 3850 vC vanaf Sicilië aangekom. [3] Prof. Caroline Malone het gesê: "Gegewe die beperkte grondoppervlakte van Malta, is dit opmerklik dat die tweede kolonisasie vir 1500 jaar oorleef het. Hierdie soort vestigingsstabiliteit is ongewoon in Europa en is indrukwekkend in terme van hoe hulle vir so 'n tydperk op 'n steeds vernederende land kon woon. " [5]

Een van die opvallendste tydperke in die geskiedenis van Malta is die tempelperiode, wat ongeveer 3600 vC begin. Die Ġgantija-tempel in Gozo is een van die oudste vrystaande geboue ter wêreld. Die naam van die kompleks kom van die Maltese woord antgant, wat die grootte van die tempel se grootte weerspieël. Baie van die tempels is in die vorm van vyf halfsirkelvormige kamers wat in die middel verbind is. Daar word voorgestel dat hierdie die kop, arms en bene van 'n god kan verteenwoordig, aangesien een van die algemeenste soorte standbeeld wat in hierdie tempels voorkom, bestaan ​​uit vetsugtige menslike figure, in die volksmond "vet dames" genoem ondanks hul dubbelsinnigheid van geslag, en dikwels word beskou as vrugbaarheid. [ aanhaling nodig ]

Die beskawing wat die tempels gebou het, duur ongeveer 1500 jaar tot ongeveer 2350 vC, op watter stadium die kultuur blykbaar verdwyn het. Daar word bespiegel oor wat moontlik sou gebeur het en of dit heeltemal uitgewis of geassimileer is, [ aanhaling nodig ], maar daar word vermoed dat die ineenstorting plaasgevind het as gevolg van klimaatstoestande en droogte. [3]

Malone het gesê: "Ons kan baie leer uit die foute van die eerste Maltese. Die gebrek aan water, tesame met die vernietiging van grond wat eeue neem om te vorm, kan die mislukking van 'n beskawing veroorsaak. Die tweede groep inwoners na Malta in 3,850-2,350 vC het hul hulpbronne voldoende bestuur en grond en voedsel vir meer as 1500 jaar ingespan. Dit was eers toe klimaatstoestande en droogte so ekstreem geword het dat hulle misluk het. " [6]

Bronstydperk Redigeer

Na die tempelperiode kom die Bronstydperk. Uit hierdie tydperk is daar oorblyfsels van 'n aantal nedersettings en dorpe, sowel as dolfyne-altaaragtige strukture wat uit baie groot klipblaaie bestaan. Daar word beweer dat hulle tot 'n bevolking behoort wat beslis anders is as die wat in die vorige megalitiese tempels gebou is. Daar word vermoed dat die bevolking uit Sicilië aangekom het vanweë die ooreenkoms met die konstruksies wat op die grootste eiland van die Middellandse See gevind word. [7] Een oorlewende menhir, wat gebruik is om tempels te bou, staan ​​steeds by Kirkop, dit is een van die min wat nog in 'n goeie toestand is. Onder die interessantste en geheimsinnigste oorblyfsels van hierdie era is die sogenaamde karretjies soos dit gesien kan word op 'n plek op Malta met die naam Misraħ Għar il-Kbir (informeel bekend as 'Clapham Junction'). Dit is pare parallelle kanale wat op die oppervlak van die rots gesny is, en wat oor groot afstande strek, dikwels in 'n presies reguit lyn. Die presiese gebruik daarvan is onbekend. Een voorstel is dat vragdiere gebruik word om karre saam te trek, en hierdie kanale sou die waens lei en verhoed dat die diere afdwaal. Die samelewing wat hierdie strukture gebou het, het uiteindelik uitgesterf of in elk geval verdwyn. [ aanhaling nodig ]

Fenisiërs en Kartago Redigeer

Fenisiërs, moontlik uit Tirus, het die eilande in ongeveer die vroeë 8ste eeu vC begin koloniseer as 'n buitepos waarvandaan hulle die see -verkennings en handel in die Middellandse See uitgebrei het. Fenisiese grafte is gevind in Rabat, Malta en die gelyknamige stad op Gozo, wat daarop dui dat die destydse belangrikste stedelike sentrums Mdina op Malta en die Cittadella op Gozo was. [8] Die voormalige nedersetting was bekend as Maleth betekenis veilige hawe, en die hele eiland het met die naam begin verwys.

Die Maltese eilande het omstreeks die middel van die 6de eeu vC onder die hegemonie van Kartago geval, saam met die meeste ander Fenisiese kolonies in die westelike Middellandse See. Teen die laat 4de eeu v.C. het Malta 'n handelspos geword wat Suid -Italië en Sicilië met Tripolitania verbind. Dit het gelei tot die bekendstelling van Hellenistiese kenmerke in argitektuur en pottebakkery. Onderskeidende Malta is gehelleniseer, dit is nie bekend of Malta soos 'n tradisionele Griekse "apoikia" gevestig is nie, en dit steun dat Malta nooit 'n Griekse kolonie was nie. [9] Hellenistiese argitektoniese kenmerke kan gesien word in die Puniese tempel by Tas-Silġ en 'n toring in Żurrieq. Die Griekse taal is ook op Malta begin gebruik, soos blyk uit die tweetalige Feniciese en Griekse inskripsies wat op die Cippi van Melqart gevind is. In die 18de eeu het die Franse geleerde Jean-Jacques Barthélemy die uitgestorwe Fenisiese alfabet ontsyfer deur die inskripsies op hierdie cippi te gebruik. [8]

In 255 vC het die Romeine gedurende die Eerste Puniese Oorlog op Malta toegeslaan en 'n groot deel van die eiland verwoes. [8]

Romeinse bewind Redigeer

Volgens die Latynse historikus Livy het die Maltese eilande in die hand van die Romeine oorgegaan aan die begin van die Tweede Puniese Oorlog in die jaar 218 vC. Soos deur Livy geskryf is, het die bevelvoerder van die Puniese garnisoen op die eiland sonder weerstand oorgegee aan Tiberius Sempronius Longus, een van die twee konsuls vir daardie jaar wat op pad was na Noord -Afrika. Die argipel het deel geword van die provinsie Sicilië, maar teen die 1ste eeu nC het dit sy eie senaat en volksvergadering gehad. Teen hierdie tyd het sowel Malta as Gozo kenmerkende muntstukke gemunt op grond van die Romeinse gewigmetings. [10]

In die Romeinse tydperk, die Puniese stad van Maleth bekend geword as Meliet, en dit het die administratiewe spilpunt van die eiland geword. Die grootte daarvan het tot die grootste mate toegeneem en beslaan die hele gebied van die huidige Mdina en groot dele van Rabat, wat strek tot wat nou die kerk van St Paul is. Oorblyfsels toon dat die stad omring is deur dik verdedigingsmure en ook beskerm is deur 'n beskermende sloot wat langs dieselfde lyn van St Ritastraat loop, wat direk daarbo gebou is. Dit dui daarop dat 'n godsdienstige sentrum met 'n aantal tempels op die hoogste deel van die voorgebou gebou is. Die oorblyfsels van een indrukwekkende woning bekend as die Domvs Romana is opgegrawe, wat goed bewaarde mosaïek in die Pompeiaanse styl onthul het. Hierdie domus dit was blykbaar die woning van 'n ryk Romeinse aristokraat, en dit word vermoedelik in die 1ste eeu vC gebou en in die 2de eeu nC verlaat. [11]

Die eilande het floreer onder die Romeinse bewind, en is uiteindelik onderskei as 'n Municipium en 'n Foederata Civitas. Daar bestaan ​​nog baie Romeinse oudhede, wat getuig van die noue band tussen die Maltese inwoners en Sicilië. [13] Gedurende die tydperk van die Romeinse heerskappy het Latyn die amptelike taal van Malta geword, en Romeinse godsdiens is op die eilande ingevoer. Ten spyte hiervan word vermoed dat die plaaslike Punies-Hellenistiese kultuur en taal tot ten minste die 1ste eeu nC oorleef het. [10]

In 60 na Christus meld die Handelinge van die Apostels dat Saint Paul skipbreuk gely het op 'n eiland met die naam Melite, wat baie Bybelgeleerdes en Maltese met Malta bots, en daar is 'n tradisie dat die skipbreuk plaasgevind het aan die oewer van die gepaste naam "St. Paul's" Baai ".

Malta het tot in die vroeë 6de eeu nC deel van die Romeinse Ryk gebly. [10] Die Vandale en later die Ostrogote het moontlik die eilande in die 5de eeu kortliks beset, [14], maar daar is geen argeologiese bewyse om dit te ondersteun nie. [15]

Bisantynse reël Redigeer

In 533 het die Bisantynse generaal Belisarius moontlik op Malta geland terwyl hy op pad was van Sicilië na Noord -Afrika, en teen 535 is die eilande geïntegreer in die Bisantynse provinsie Sicilië. Gedurende die Bisantynse tydperk het die belangrikste nedersettings die stad Melite op die vasteland van Malta en die Citadel op Gozo gebly, terwyl Marsaxlokk, Marsaskala, Marsa en Xlendi as hawe gedien het. The relatively high quantity of Byzantine ceramics found in Malta suggests that the island might have had an important strategic role within the empire from the 6th to 8th centuries. [16]

From the late 7th century onward, the Mediterranean was being threatened by Muslim expansion. At this point, the Byzantines probably improved the defences of Malta, as can be seen by defensive walls built around the basilica at Tas-Silġ around the 8th century. The Byzantines might have also built the retrenchment which reduced Melite to one-third of its original size. [17]

Arab period Edit

In 870 AD, Malta was occupied by Muslims from North Africa. According to Al-Himyarī, Aghlabids led by Halaf al-Hādim besieged the Byzantine city of Melite, which was ruled by governor Amros (probably Ambrosios). Al-Hādim was killed in the fighting, and Sawāda Ibn Muḥammad was sent from Sicily to continue the siege following his death. The duration of the siege is unknown, but it probably lasted for some weeks or months. After Melite fell to the invaders, the inhabitants were massacred, the city was destroyed and its churches were looted. Marble from Melite's churches was used to build the castle of Sousse. [18] According to Al-Himyarī, Malta remained almost uninhabited until it was resettled in around 1048 or 1049 by a Muslim community and their slaves, who rebuilt the city of Melite as Medina, making it "a finer place than it was before." However, archaeological evidence suggests that Melite/Medina was already a thriving Muslim settlement by the beginning of the 11th century, so Al-Himyarī's account might be unreliable. [19] In 1053–54, the Byzantines besieged Medina but they were repelled by its defenders. [18] Although their rule was relatively short, the Arabs left a significant impact on Malta. In addition to their language, Siculo-Arabic, cotton, oranges and lemons and many new techniques in irrigation were introduced. Some of these, like the noria (waterwheel), are still used, unchanged, today. Many place names in Malta date to this period.

A long historiographic controversy loomed over Medieval Muslim Malta. According to the "Christian continuity thesis", spearheaded by Giovanni Francesco Abela and still most present in popular narratives, the Maltese population continuously inhabited the islands from the early Christian Era up to today, and a Christian community persisted even during Muslim times. This was contested in the 1970s by the medieval historian Godfrey Wettinger, who claimed that nothing indicated the continuity of Christianity from the late 9th to the 11th century on the Maltese Islands – the Maltese must have integrated into the new Arab Islamic society. The Christian continuity thesis had a revival in 2010 following the publication of Tristia ex Melitogaudo by Stanley Fiorini, Horatio Vella and Joseph Brincat, who challenged Wettinger's interpretation based on a line of a Byzantine poem (which later appeared to have been mistranslated). Wettinger subsequently reaffirmed his thesis, based on sources from the Arab historians and geographers Al Baqri, Al-Himyarī, Ibn Hauqal, Qazwini, who all seemed to be in agreement that “the island of Malta remained after that a ruin without inhabitants” – thus ruling out any continuity whatsoever between the Maltese prior to 870 and after. This is also consistent with Joseph Brincat’s finding of no further sub-stratas beyond Arabic in the Maltese language, a very rare occurrence which may only be explained by a drastic lapse between one period and the following. To the contrary, the few Byzantine words in Maltese language can be traced to the 400 Rhodians coming with the knights in 1530, as well as to the influx of Greek rite Christians from Sicily. [20]

Norman Kingdom of Sicily rule Edit

Malta returned to Christian rule with the Norman conquest. It was, with Noto on the southern tip of Sicily, the last Arab stronghold in the region to be retaken by the resurgent Christians. [21] In 1091, Count Roger I of Sicily, invaded Malta and turned the island's Muslim rulers into his vassals. In 1127, his son Roger II of Sicily fully established Norman rule in Malta, paving the way for the islands' Christianization. [22]

Malta was part of the Kingdom of Sicily for nearly 440 years. During this period, Malta was sold and resold to various feudal lords and barons and was dominated successively by the rulers of Swabia, Anjou, [23] the Crown of Aragon, the Crown of Castile and Spain. Eventually, the Crown of Aragon, which then ruled Malta, joined with Castile in 1479, and Malta became part of the Spanish Empire. [24] Meanwhile, Malta's administration fell in the hands of local nobility who formed a governing body called the Università.

The islands remained largely Muslim-inhabited long after the end of Arab rule. The Arab administration was also kept in place [25] and Muslims were allowed to practise their religion freely until the 13th century. [26] The Normans allowed an emir to remain in power with the understanding that he would pay an annual tribute to them in mules, horses, and munitions. [27] As a result of this favourable environment, Muslims continued to demographically and economically dominate Malta for at least another 150 years after the Christian conquest. [28]

In 1122, Malta experienced a Muslim uprising and in 1127 Roger II of Sicily reconquered the islands. [29]

Even in 1175, Burchard, bishop of Strasbourg, an envoy of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, had the impression, based upon his brief visit to Malta, that it was exclusively or mainly inhabited by Muslims. [30] [31]

In 1192, Tancred of Sicily appointed Margaritus of Brindisi the first Count of Malta, perhaps for his unexpected success in capturing Empress Constance contender to the throne. Between 1194 and 1530, the Kingdom of Sicily ruled the Maltese islands and a process of full latinisation started in Malta. The conquest of the Normans would lead to the gradual Romanization and Latinization and subsequent firm establishment of Roman Catholicism in Malta, after previous respective Eastern Orthodox and Islamic domination. [32] [33] Until 1224, however, there remained a strong Muslim segment of society.

In 1224, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, sent an expedition against Malta to establish royal control and prevent its Muslim population from helping a Muslim rebellion in the Kingdom of Sicily. [34]

After the Norman conquest, the population of the Maltese islands kept growing mainly through immigration from the north (Sicily and Italy), with the exile to Malta of the entire male population of the town of Celano (Italy) in 1223, the stationing of a Norman and Sicilian garrison on Malta in 1240 and the settlement in Malta of noble families from Sicily between 1372 and 1450. As a consequence of this, Capelli et al. found in 2005 that "the contemporary males of Malta most likely originated from Southern Italy, including Sicily and up to Calabria." [35]

According to a report in 1240 or 1241 by Gililberto Abbate, who was the royal governor of Frederick II of Sicily during the Genoese Period of the County of Malta, [36] in that year the islands of Malta and Gozo had 836 Muslim families, 250 Christian families and 33 Jewish families. [37]

Around 1249, some Maltese Muslims were sent to the Italian colony of Lucera, established for Sicilian Muslims. [38] For some historians, including Godfrey Wettinger, who follow on this Ibn Khaldun, this event marked the end of Islam in Malta. According to Wettinger, "there is no doubt that by the beginning of Angevin times [i.e. shortly after 1249] no professed Muslim Maltese remained either as free persons or even as serfs on the island." [39] The Maltese language nevertheless survived – an indication that either a large number of Christians already spoke Maltese, or that many Muslims converted and remained behind.

In 1266, Malta was turned over in fiefdom to Charles of Anjou, brother of France's King Louis IX, who retained it in ownership until 1283. Eventually, during Charles's rule religious coexistence became precarious in Malta, since he had a genuine intolerance of religions other than Roman Catholicism. [40] However, Malta's links with Africa would still remain strong until the beginning of Aragonese and Spanish rule in 1283, following the War of the Sicilian Vespers. [41]

In September 1429, Hafsid Saracens attempted to capture Malta but were repelled by the Maltese. The invaders pillaged the countryside and took about 3000 inhabitants as slaves. [42]

By the end of the 15th century, all Maltese Muslims would be forced to convert to Christianity and had to find ways to disguise their previous identities by Latinizing or adopting new surnames. [43]


The Knights of the Military Order of Saint John in Malta

The year 1530 is when the Knights’ chapter in Malta starts. After years of not having a fixed quarters to call their home, Charles V of Spain (then ruler of Malta as King of Sicily) gave the Knights the islands of Malta and Gozo, as well as the city of Tripoli (present-day capital of Libya).

When the Knights took hold of Malta and Gozo, the islands were seen as small and offering little resources. Although it was a step forward from having no home at all, the Knights accepted the gift of Malta because it was basically better than having no base at all.

That meant that Malta was never meant to be the Knights’ permanent home. They still hoped to one day recapture Rhodes but after the Great Siege of 1565 decided to stay in Malta and build a stronghold there.

Making do, the Order started building a naval base in Malta because they recgonised that the location meant it could prove to be a strategic value. Positioned at the centre of the Mediterranean, having a stronghold in Malta meant it could serve as a gateway between East and West and in that way support the Knights’ core missions of defense and support. In the end, they transformed Malta from a bare island to a thriving stronghold with magnificent fortifications.

Although they were offered the key to Mdina (its then capital city), the Knights decided to settle in present-day Birgu (Vittoriosa) and improved Fort St. Angelo (which had existed in Medieval times as a castle) to be their main fortification and seat of power.

The local population initially wasn’t very enthusiastic about the intruders, with the Maltese being excluded from serving the order. However, both groups peacefully coexisted, with the Maltese recognising the protection and relative improvement in prosperity which the Knights brought along.

Invasion of Gozo and loss of Tripoli

1551 Proved to be an important year. Up until that point, the Knights were under constant threat from Ottoman pirates led by commander Dragut Reis (a highly skilled and successful military prowess).

The Ottomans, having allowed the remaining Knights to escape their previous stronghold of Rhodes, weren’t happy to see them re-established and developing in Malta (and Tripoli).

Dragut and his admiral Sinan Pasha attempted to invade Malta in 1551 with a force of 10,000 men, entering what we now refer to as Marsamxett harbour. This harbour is located on the West side of the Sciberras peninsula on which Valletta was built (although the city didn’t exist at this point in time) while the Knights in Birgu were located on the Eastside, across present-day Grand Harbour.

After landing, the Ottoman forces marched on Birgu and Fort St. Angelo but soon realised it was too well-fortified to be taken easily.

They decided to raid and loot villages and take Mdina instead, but by the time word spread, the city was also up in arms and an attack was decided against. Meanwhile, their fleet that lay anchored at Marsamxett harbour were under attack from relief forces.

Changing plans yet again, Dragut sent Sinan to attack Gozo and its citadel. Although also heavily fortified, the bombardment that ensued moved local governor Gelatian de Sessa to capitulate. The Ottomans sacked the citadel, enslaved the 6,000 or so Gozitan civilians that sought protection in the citadel, and took control over the island.

Knowing that it wouldn’t be long for the Ottomans to try and take Malta again, the Knights set out to fortify Fort St. Angelo and in a very short period of time (less than six months) built Fort St. Michael (at present-day Senglea, which like Birgu forms part of the Three Cities) and Fort St. Elmo across the harbour, at the tip of present-day Valletta.

That proved to be a crucial move that laid the foundation for victory in the Great Siege. Having been fortified as a strategic stronghold for the Christians, they were well aware of the big threat of the Ottomans taking control of such a strategically important location as Malta was back then.

The Great Siege of 1565

Being informed by spies in Constantinople of an imminent attack in early 1565, then Grand Master de Valette put in place preparations for the battle to come. He ordered all crops to be harvested, even those that weren’t yet ripe to ensure that the opposing forces wouldn’t be able to source food for their troops. He also made sure all wells were poisoned to make the situation even tougher.

The Ottoman armada consisted of a force of 36,000-40,000 soldiers that were sent to take Malta in March 1565. It was a force expected to be easily large enough to take on the Knights who only commanded a force of around 6,100 soldiers and civilians (of which only around 500 were Knights Hospitaller).

What ensued was a battle and siege that became legendary in Western modern history. Not just because of the Knights’ victory against all odds, but also because what was at stake was potential domination and control over the whole Mediterranean by the Ottoman Empire.

Although the Ottomans successfully gained control over Fort St. Elmo, they lost around 6,000 in that battle alone, for example.

Several attacks on Fort St. Michael (Senglea) followed but progress was slow and losses in troops high and apart from becoming demoralised, it was only a matter of time for relief forces to come to the aid of the Knights.

In September, that force in the shape of around 8,000 men sent by the Viceroy of Sicily under pressure from his most senior officers, landed in the North of Malta. They massacred a large part of what remained of the Ottoman forces.

Despite large casualty numbers, the Knights were victorious in their defense of Malta, and of the Christian West as a whole, having successfully prevented the Ottomans from gaining a foothold on the doorstep of Western Europe.

The Knights and Malta after Great Siege

Now firmly controlling and defending the permanent residence of the Knights Hospitaller and with victory in hand that prevented an even bigger Ottoman threat to Christendom, the Order received funding and architectural expertise to improve fortifications in Malta.

During their 268-year reign, the Knights built various structures as part of major projects, most notably:

    , which still retains most of its fortifications and key buildings built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Named in honour of Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette, who withstood the Ottomans, the city became the seat of power of the Knights and is Malta’s capital city nowadays.
  • In support of their original role of caretakers, the Knights built several hospitals, most notably La Sacra Infermeria in Valletta, which became known to be one of the best hospitals in Europe. It also served as the School of Anatomy and Surgery in the 17th century.
  • Several fortifications around the Grand Harbour area, including the Floriana and Santa Margherita Lines, as well as the Cottonera Lines. Parts of those fortifications are still visible today, although modern infrastructure demands have had an impact over the years, unfortunately. Not to mention the actions of subsequent rulers of Malta.
  • The construction of several watchtowers around Malta and Gozo which improved coastline defense and served as an early warning system for invasions.
  • Additional forts in strategic places, including Fort Ricasoli, Fort Tigné, Fort Manoel, and Fort Chambray in Gozo.

The decline of the Knights’ rule in Malta

During the 18th century, during the reign of Grand Master Manuel Pinto da Fonseca, the Knights successfully obtained sovereign rule over Malta, cutting themselves loose of the Kingdom of Sicily.

That sovereign rule only lasted a few decades, with the rise of power of Napoleon, Grand Master Pinto’s lavish rule, and bankruptcy as a result as well as a growing dislike of the Knights among the Maltese.

Napoleon managed to seize Malta in 1798, with little resistance from the Knights, although the French themselves were ousted by Maltese revolutionaries who received support from Great Britain. Although the Knights tried to regain control, Malta became a colony of the British Empire officially in 1813.

Once again the Knights of the Order of Saint John no longer had a headquarters.

Knights of Malta documentary

Here’s a good overview of the Knights’ history in a documentary by Deutsche Welle (German broadcaster) in English:


Arrival of the Ottomans [ edit | wysig bron]

Before the Turks arrived, de Vallette ordered the harvesting of all the crops, including unripened grain, to deprive the enemy of any local food supplies. Furthermore, the Knights poisoned all wells with bitter herbs and dead animals.

The Turkish armada arrived at dawn on Friday, 18 May, but did not at once make land. Rather, the fleet sailed up the southern coast of the island, turned around and finally anchored at Marsaxlokk (Marsa Sirocco) harbour, nearly 10 kilometers from the Great Port, as the Grand Harbour was then known.

According to most accounts, in particular Balbi's, a dispute arose between the leader of the land forces, the 4th Vizier serdar Kızılahmedli Mustafa Pasha, ⎜] and the supreme naval commander, Piyale Pasha, about where to anchor the fleet. Piyale wished to shelter it at Marsamxett bay, just north of the Grand Harbour, in order to avoid the sirocco and be nearer the action, but Mustafa disagreed, because to anchor the fleet there would require first reducing Fort St. Elmo, which guarded the entrance to the harbour. Mustafa intended, according to these accounts, to attack the unprotected old capital Mdina, which stood in the center of the island, then attack Forts St. Angelo and Michael by land. If so, an attack on Fort St. Elmo would have been entirely unnecessary. Nevertheless, Mustafa relented, apparently believing only a few days would be necessary to destroy St. Elmo. After the Turks were able to emplace their guns, at the end of May they commenced a bombardment.

It certainly seems true that Suleiman had seriously blundered in splitting the command three ways. He not only split command between Piyale and Mustafa, but he ordered both of them to defer to Turgut when he arrived from Tripoli. Contemporary letters from spies in Constantinople, however, suggest that the plan had always been to take Fort St. Elmo first. ⎝] In any case, for the Turks to concentrate their efforts on it proved a crucial mistake.


About this page

APA citation. Moeller, C. (1910). Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07477a.htm

MLA citation. Moeller, Charles. "Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07477a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by the Priory of St. Thomas Becket of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem.


France gone, other Nations become interested

Nor were other nations slow in coming forward to the aid of this small island so well situated with regard to trade with the Levant, plumb in the centre of the Mediterranean. Britain with its naval base on Minorca offered its ‘protection’. The Tsar Paul I offered final assistance to the Order, raising money from Polish ‘Commanderies’ and founded the Grand Priory of Russia (1797). Austria too with its position in the Adriatic and its privileged relationship with Naples had designs upon the Mediterranean – perhaps even the Grand-Master Hompesch was pro-Austrian.


Inhoud

An amphibious operation is both similar and different in many ways to both land, naval and air operations. At its basic such operations include phases of strategic planning and preparation, operational transit to the intended theatre of operations, pre-landing rehearsal and disembarkation, troop landings, beachhead consolidation and conducting inland ground and air operations. Historically, within these scope of these phases a vital part is of success was often based on the military logistics, naval gunfire and close air support. Another factor is the variety and quantity of specialised vehicles and equipment used by the landing force that are designed for the specific needs of this type of operation.

Amphibious operations can be classified as tactical or operational raids such as the Dieppe Raid, operational landings in support of a larger land strategy such as the Kerch–Eltigen Operation, and a strategic opening of a new Theatre of Operations, for example the Operation Avalanche.
The purpose of amphibious operations is always offensive, but limited by the plan and terrain.
Landings on islands less than 5,000 km 2 (1,900 sq mi) in size are tactical, usually with the limited objectives of neutralising enemy defenders and obtaining a new base of operation. Such an operation may be prepared and planned in days or weeks, and would employ a naval Task force to land less than a division of troops.
The intent of operational landings is usually to exploit the shore as a vulnerability in the enemy's overall position, forcing redeployment of forces, premature use of reserves, and aiding a larger allied offensive effort elsewhere. Such an operation requiring weeks to months of preparation and planning, would use multiple task forces, or even a naval fleet to land corps-size forces, including on large islands, for example Operation Chromite.
A strategic landing operation requires a major commitment of forces to invade a national territory in the archipelagic, e.g. the Battle of Leyte, or continental, e.g. Operation Neptune invasion. Such an operation may require multiple naval and air fleets to support the landings, and extensive intelligence gathering and planning of over a year.

Although most amphibious operations are thought of primarily as beach landings, they can take exploit available shore infrastructure to land troops directly into an urban environment if unopposed. In this case non-specialised ships can offload troops, vehicles and cargo using organic or facility wharf-side equipment. Tactical landings in the past have utilised small boats, small craft, small ships and civilian vessels converted for the mission to deliver troops to the water's edge.

Preparation and planning [ edit | wysig bron]

Preparation and planning the naval landing operation requires the assembly of vessels with sufficient capacity to lift necessary troops employing combat loading. The military intelligence services produce a briefing on the expected opponent which guides the organisation and equipping of the embarked force. First specially designed landing craft were used for the Gallipoli landings, and armoured tracked vehicles were also available for the Guadalcanal Campaign. Helicopters were first used to support beach landings during Operation Musketeer. Hovercraft have been in use for naval landings by military forces since the 1960s.


1565 – Was it that great?

A historical discovery does not always equal the unearthing of new documents or artefacts. Sometimes it’s about re-evaluating what we already know. Prof. Victor Mallia-Milanes vertel Tuovi Mäkipere meer.

T he old adage goes ‘History is written by the victors.’ As far as accuracy is concerned, stories from decades past should be taken with a grain of salt. Scribes’ biases need to be accounted for. Unless science develops a working time machine that will allow researchers to experience events first-hand, the past will have to be reconstructed through careful analysis of facts based on empirical evidence and their re-evaluation.

Prof. Victor Mallia-Milanes (Department of History, Faculty of Arts, University of Malta) believes that this ‘reconstruction’ can be made through various means, namely ‘the discovery of new facts, a new method of approach, a new interpretation of the significance of long-established facts, or a combination of them all.’ Questioning the traditional panorama, the established perception of the past, lies at the core of these efforts.

Mallia-Milanes exhibits his point with one of the most famous events in Maltese history—the Great Siege of 1565. With all the research conducted around the siege, it is hard to imagine what new information can be garnered without the use of the aforementioned time machine. Mallia-Milanes disagrees, in part. While there have been no new revelations or archival discoveries made in recent years, there is always the wider context to be taken into account when evaluating any phenomenon in history. The Great Siege is one such example.

Maltese history is interwoven with the Mediterranean’s, however, as Mallia-Milanes notes, ‘traditional historians have tended to approach the island in almost complete isolation, which doesn’t make sense at all. No event or series of events at any point in time can make complete sense outside its wider context if it is weaned off its broader framework.’ To understand the Great Siege, he explains, we need to look at the bigger picture.

Matteo Perez d’Aleccio, (c. 16th Cent.) The Siege of Malta (1565) — The capture of St Elmo. Oil on canvas. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection.

Malta and the Knights 1565

In 1565, the Ottomans besieged Malta for four bloody months, laying waste the island which the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St John called their home. Atrocities abounded, one worse than the other. But what led to this confrontation? The seeds were sown in 1113, when Pope Paschal II took the order under his wing, finally formally recognising it as a privileged order of the Church. Based in Rhodes, the order made itself a thorn in the Ottoman Empire’s side, attacking Turkish trade ships doing business in the Levant and making a mockery of them. The Ottomans reacted, attacking Rhodes twice, proving successful in taking the island on their second attempt in 1522. Not long after, Sicily’s King Charles V gave the Maltese Islands and the port of Tripoli to the order. 1551 rolled around, Tripoli was taken by the Ottomans, and the order made a gruesome stand. It proceeded with fury to prove its indispensability as widely and convincingly as possible, looting Muslim villages, disrupting Muslim trade and commerce, and dragging Muslim men, women, and children into slavery. In doing so, the order thwarted the Ottoman Empire’s expansion westward.

During the 1560s, Malta still formed part of the late medieval Mediterranean world. With a native population numbering between 25,000 and 30,000, the island was rural and its economy predominantly agrarian. The capital city, Mdina, was weakly fortified. The small fort St Angelo, equally poor in its fortifications, guarded the entrance to the island’s deep and spacious harbour, with Birgu as its suburb. The forts lulled the native population into a false sense of security, but this was rectified after the loss of Tripoli, with the construction of two new forts: St Elmo and St Michael.

Hospitaller activity made Malta a target. The Ottoman Sultan Süleyman I sought to besiege Malta and bring the knightsʼ headquarters down. ‘The only way to bring such hospitaller hostility to an end was to try and eliminate the institution that sustained it once and for all. That, and only that, explains 1565. Francisco Balbi di Correggio’s [who served in the Spanish contingent during the siege] claim that the sultan wanted Malta to garner a stepping stone to invade Sicily and make larger-scale enterprises more feasible does not sound very convincing,’ reveals Mallia-Milanes.

On 18 May 1565, the Ottoman armada with some 25,000 men made their terrifying appearance in Maltese waters. Under the leadership of the Grand Master Jean de la Valette, 500 hospitallers, and around 8,000 Maltese men rallied, grossly outnumbered by the Ottomans. Battles and bloodshed pushed the island and its people to the brink that summer, but by the second week of September, the invincible Ottoman armada was sailing back home, embarrassed and humiliated. It was Spain’s gran soccorso (great relief), consisting of an 8,000-strong army, that saved the day. But the price to be paid for that victory was steep. The island lay in ruins. The countryside was ravaged and devastated. The victorious Grand Master de la Valette rose above it all, focusing on his victory and celebrating it with the construction of a new fortified city that would bear his name—Valletta.

Innovations in history

T he enlightened French philosopher Voltaire once wrote ‘Rien n’est plus connu que le siège de Malte.’ (Nothing is better known than the Siege of Malta). But plenty of questions remain.

Mallia-Milanes dissects its very name. What makes the ‘Great Siege’ great? This is the innovation in history he speaks of—the qualifying term which denotes the essence of the siege ‘It does not consist of any discovery of new documentary facts. It is a re-evaluation, a rethink,’ he asserts. The question regarding what makes the siege ‘great’ seeks to determine the criteria that could be adopted to measure greatness. Since a continuous process of change constitutes the quintessence of history, the criterion the professor adopts here is to assess the phenomenon’s capacity to bring about any long-term structural change of direction. In this sense, how historically significant was the siege? The answer proves quite controversial. The episode and its outcome did not bring about major changes. As Mallia Milanes states, ‘In the long-term historical development of the early modern Mediterranean, no radical, no permanent changes may be convincingly attributed to the Ottoman siege of Malta.’

“The only way to bring such hospitaller hostility to an end was to try and eliminate the institution that sustained it once and for all. That, and only that, explains 1565.”

Another controversial issue concerns the timing of the siege: why did the Ottomans decide to besiege hospitaller Malta in 1565 and not two or three years earlier? In 1560 most of the Spanish armada had been destroyed at Djerba (present Tunisia). In 1561 the Ottoman Admiral Dragut destroyed seven more Spanish galleys. In 1562 a storm wrecked the armada’s remaining 25 galleys off the coast of Malaga on the western shore of the Mediterranean. By then, Spain was in no position to offer any naval assistance to the hospitallers. ‘The Ottomans could not have been unaware of these dramatic events,’ notes Mallia-Milanes. That would have been the ideal moment to strike, but the Ottomans failed to do so until a new Habsburg armada had been cons tructed, equipped, and fully armed. Mallia-Milanes continues: ‘This failure on the part of the Ottomans, whatever the reason, may explain the outcome of their hostile expedition to Malta.’

Mallia-Milanes also points out that barely anything is known about ‘the part played by most of the members of the local clergy and the Maltese nobility during the siege.’ What did they do? What was their role in this huge war?

Timeline of the Great Siege 1565

Malta after the siege

‘ The humiliating departure of the besiegers in September 1565 confirmed the orderʼs permanent sojourn [on Malta],’ notes Mallia-Milanes. For Malta and the Maltese, the order’s long stay on the island ‘constituted a revolutionary force in its own right, whose ingredients included long-standing hospitaller traditions, practices, a highly elitist lifestyle, courtly manners, ambitions, aspirations, values, their social assumptions, and social patterns, their widespread network of prioral communications, and especially their revenue, flowing regularly from their massive land ownership in Europe into the Common Treasury to be invested in Malta to finance their activities and to render the infrastructure more efficient,’ Mallia-Milanes comments. These elements drastically transformed Maltaʼs social and economic reality, triggering the island to move from late medieval into early modern times.

Prof. Victor Mallia-Milanes

The knights invested lavishly in Malta, fortified it, urbanised it, and Europeanised it. The population grew steadily from some 12,000 to well over 80,000 between 1530 and 1789, during the time the order ruled Malta. Cotton and cumin industries flourished, as did the island’s slave market. The inhabitants enjoyed efficient medical and social services, advanced by the standards of the time. ‘[…] Malta of 1530 or 1565 and Malta of 1800 were two widely distinct islands. The knights placed the island firmly on the geopolitical map,’ asserts Mallia-Milanes. For hospitaller Malta, the long-term impact of the siege was ‘great’, highly significant and important. And the same may be said of the Order of St John.

And while the rule of the Knights in Malta ended some 226 years ago, this was by no means the end of the history of the order. ‘The history of the Order of the Hospital spans more than 900 years and still shows no signs, no symptoms, of waning,’ Mallia-Milanes explicates. The resilience of the institution, its capacity to recover quickly from any crisis, is what makes it so enthralling.

The beauty of historical research lies in the fact that nobody can claim the last word. There are no time machines to bring the theories and musing to an undeniable conclusion. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. As Mallia-Milanes notes: ‘It is always healthy to revise and update our knowledge of the past it is necessary and vital to rethink it. It is in this sense that the past is always present, always alive.’


Kyk die video: Diving the Blue Hole u0026 Azure Window 23 April 2015 Gozo - Malta (November 2021).