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A (Brief) Beginner’s Guide To Maltese History Part 13: The French Were Kind Of Terrible

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We’re currently guiding readers through a brief(ish) history of the Maltese islands. Our previous episode was all about how one (allegedly) tiny man with a big dream sailed across the Mediterranean sea.

He landed in Malta, where he had a hissy fit because Hompesch would not let him use his hair brush or whatever. So the guy – Napoleon, you might’ve heard of him – totally attacked and took over our islands.

Even though the French did a lot of cool things for Malta, they were rapidly stripping away everything the church owned. And as we all know, the church was way more important and influential than any state has ever been on this island.

The French were steadily and strongly pissing off the Maltese people with all their church looting.

Napoleon stopped paying pensions and wages to the Maltese, stealing more and more from the country.

On the 2nd of September 1798, the Maltese people had had enough. Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive could not hold a candle to the Maltese people’s anger.

People were going berserk. A swarm of super angry Maltese people drove the pant-pissing French into the capital Valletta, where they were surrounded by thousands of Maltese soldiers. The leaders of this crazy revolt were Canon Francesco Saverio Caruana and Emmanuele Vitale.

The Maltese laid siege on the fortifications around the Harbour, because on that day, they gave zero fucks.

During the two years the French spent here, apart from collectively pissing the Maltese people off, looting all of the churches and hiding in a fort, they also somehow managed to get one of their men thrown off a balcony. French Jesus take the wheel.

As we mentioned earlier, these guys looted church treasures. They also auctioned them off, and one of these treasures happened to be the damask from the Carmelite Church of Valletta.

The Maltese got super angry at the damask-transporting French, so they turned into one giant mob. They all went to Mdina, presumably shouting and totally acting like a Maltese person on a rampage.

When they got to Mdina, they found this commander guy, Lazarre Masson, chilling with his very French buddies.

As soon as the Maltese guys saw him and his friends, they went stark raven mad. Masson and co ran to safety, but the Maltese started throwing rocks at them, kicking them, punching them… the works.

Eventually, they got hold of Masson and literally threw him out of a balcony. They grabbed him and crowd-surfed his ass towards the balcony, and threw him out. While his pregnant wife watched in horror. A pregnant woman witnessed a bunch of raging folks throwing her husband out of her own home’s balcony.

The Maltese people had a really weird blood thirst on the day, however the pregnant wife was spared, because the life of an unborn child is much more valuable than anyone else’s (some things never change).

The throwing off of Masson sparked our thirst for liberation, liberation from all the oppressors and rulers we had to deal with since forever. ‘Enough is Enough’, to quote Barbara Streisand.

Meanwhile in Gozo, French soldiers were cowering in the Ċitadella, as a bunch of Gozitans were blindly trying to get to them. Kind of like World War Z, but instead of zombies vs Brad Pitt it was Maltese vs French men who totally did not look like Brad Pitt.

This is the first time in history when the Maltese people decided to form an assembly, called the Maltese National Assembly. Yay for straightforward names.

They decided to send this dude, Wiġi Briffa, to Sicily with some letters and stuff asking for help.

When he got there, Briffa gave the King of Naples this letter which explained the Maltese people’s dire situation. The guys from Naples totally promised that they would help us, but it was a prank of some sort because nobody ever came.

Eventually the Maltese guys had really had enough. So they decided to ask Napoleon’s arch-nemesis for help, Lord Horatio Nelson.

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