History of Italy 1798-1815

Malta 1720-1798

The Maltese Knights (or Knights of St. John) ruled Malta since 1530.
In 1769, Grand Master Emmanuel Pinto founded the University of Malta funded by the property of the Jesuits who had been expelled the previous year; they had opened a college in Valletta in 1592. In the late 18th century, the Maltese language - hitherto only spoken - became the object of linguistic studies, by C.A. Sultana, whose work was continued by M.A. Vassalli. Hence, Maltese is the only Arab-based language spelled in Latin alphabet.
In 1722, Turkish prisoners and slaves were involved in a conspiracy, which was uncovered and suppressed. In 1775 a revolt headed by priest Gaetano Mannarino failed.
Grand Master de Rohan (1775-1798), the first Frenchman to become Grand Master since 1697, revived the long forgotten tradition of a general chapter assembly, revised the statutes and implemented some reforms. He promulgated a code of laws.
In the 1790es, the Knights of St. John regarded their position increasingly precarious. In 1792, the Order's possessions in France were confiscated. When a Russian fleet freed the Ionian Islands from French rule in 1797, the Knights of St. John asked Czar Paul I. of Rusia to place Malta under his protection. Then, in May 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte landed on the islands; the Maltese Knights surrendered to him soon afterward. In 1798 the population of Malta was estimated as 114,000.

Malta under the Knights: 1566 - 1798, from Malta through the Ages
Article Malta, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Malta under GM Emmanuel de Rohan, 1775-1797, by John Gatt
Biography of F.J.H.A. von Hompesch zu Bollheim, from BBKL, in German; from S.M.O.M., richly illustrated
L'Ordre de Malte au 18eme siecle - La Decadence, (The Maltese Order in the 18th century - decadence), (A. Maurois, 1935), posted by George Cross Island Page, in French
History of the Order of Malta, from S.M.O.M. Museum
Maltese Regiments, from Degree Miniatures
A Brief History of the Currency in Malta, from Central Bank of Malta, mainly on 18th century
Cavalieri di Malta (Chevaliers of Malta), from Blue Dragon, in Italian
DOCUMENTS List of Governors etc., from World Statesmen by Ben Cahoon
Speach of Bailiff Count Jules Rene de Litto to Paul I Emperor of Russia, Dec. 1797, posted by OOSJ
Memoirs of the Duke of Rovigo (French officer), May 1798, Malta, posted by War Times Journal
The Surrender of Malta to the French Republic by the Order of Malta, June 12th 1798, posted by OOSJ
Historic Texts of the Order of St. John, from OOSJ
Coins of the Knights of Malta, from John Gatt's Home Page
Medals of the Grand Masters of Malta, by Emmanuel Said (modern medals featuring historic Grand Masters)
REFERENCE R. Cohen, The Knights of Malta 1523-1798 (1920), posted by Gutenberg Library Online

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on August 28th 2002, last revised on October 28th 2007

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