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Great Siege 1565 Malta

Great Siege 1565 Malta

Karl V., Spanish king and the Kaiser of Germany gave the island of Malta as fiefdom to the Knights Hospitalizes (Knights of St. John) in 1530 with the purpose to use their powers against the godless enemies. The Turks defeated the fleet of Venice which was the biggest at that time in the Mediterranean Sea in 1538. The only galleys that could still endanger the Turks were that of the Knights of St. John. A conflict was inescapable.

The Turks arrived with a fleet of 200 ships in front of the gates of Malta. The only fortifications in Malta were that of Mdina (the old capital), Birgu (Vittoriosa), Senglea and the Fort St. Elmo (lies on the tip of Valletta). The Grandmaster La Vallette knew that he had to hold the Fort St. Elmo as long as possible to defeat the Turks. Every night new fighters were brought across the harbor and injured to the hospital. The fort was totally damaged at the end of May and the garrison wanted to give up. However, La Vallette ordered to fight to the last breath. The fort still held on till the 23rd June. On that day the whole garrison was killed. The Turks lost one fourth of their army. After the loss of St. Elmo the door was open for the Turks to enter the Grand Harbor. To protect the galleys of the knights they were moved into the bay between Birgu and Senglea (Dockyard Creek). The Turks tried a new strategy and moved 80 ships across the peninsula Sciberras (today known as Valletta). Now they could attack the peninsula of Senglea. However, La Vallette could hold Senglea. He built a bridge between Senglea and Vittoriosa, so that he could move the troops fast. The Turks were more than once with one foot already inside the city, but every time they were pushed off with the last reserves and the last power. La Vallette wounded himself when he tried to protect the city at the Poste de Castille. At the end the bridge between the both peninsulas was trimmed, so to show the attackers as well as the defenders that nobody will ever give up fighting. The morale of the Turks sunk. When finally the reinforcements from Sicily arrived, the Turkish army left and the expansion of the Turks was stopped. Since that day Malta became a stronghold against the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.

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