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A (Brief) Beginner’s Guide To Maltese History Part 9: The Dark Knights Episode 2

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The Knights in Malta were alright, as we have already seen in Knights: Episode 1.

They pretty much reinvented the whole island, built a bunch of new stuff and made everything a bit more majestic than it already was.

But like every relationship, the Knights and Malta’s honeymoon period was to be over very soon.

The Ottomans started increasing their attacks on Malta under the false pretence that they wanted to take over the island and eventually Europe, but at this stage we all know that they just wanted to get the Knights’ attention and love.

Semailname 47B

And I want the one I can’t have, 

and it’s driving me mad. 

It’s all over, all over my face.

After like 14 years of blissful mill building, coin minting, pirate fighting, fort designing and aqueduct planning, Malta was hit by the worst natural tragedy to ever hit our islands, a tornado. It killed around 600 people and you can read more about it here.

Charles V, in the meantime, also wanted to get a piece of Knight love, so he offered a Tunisian city to them. The Knights didn’t like it as much though and when they refused, he burnt it down. Yes, he burnt a whole city down.

Being the chill guy that he is, Charles V also ordered the prohibition of wheat being sent to Malta, so in order for us not to starve to death, the Knights built more cool mills.

The Knights and the Ottomans had many lovers’ quarrels on sea until eventually the Ottomans decided to pull a dick move on the Knights.

In 1565, Suleiman laid siege on our islands, and someone even got a quote from Queen Elizabeth about it: “If the Turks should prevail against the Isle of Malta, it is uncertain what further peril might follow to the rest of Christendom.”

She did not help the Knights to fight the Turks off though. Ouch.

Anyway, the Ottomans met their first hitch when a storm prevented them from landing at Marsaxlokk, so instead they hung out at Għajn Tuffieħa like every single tourist ever.

After their fun day in the sun, the Ottomans proceeded to land in Marsaxlokk, waltzed their way through Żejtun and camped joyfully in Marsa. For some reason, they were totally free to do this without encountering any sort of resistance from the Knights, but that’s another issue.

In a month’s time, on the 30th of June to be exact, the Turks succeeded in taking over Fort St. Elmo, but still failed at winning over the Knights’ hearts. In an act of vengeance and hatred, the Turks beheaded and mutilated the bodies of all the Knights they managed to slay, tied them to crosses and floated them over across to Senglea and Birgu.

The Knights were heavily shocked by this, so they started properly gearing up for war, bringing about major reinforcements in preparation for a full fledged assault (read: they used Turkish decapitated heads as impromptu cannon balls).

This went on back and forth for another month, until the Turks dragged their fleet on land and transported it on rollers to the Grand Harbour so that they could start their attack on Senglea, accompanied by 29 extra vessels from Algiers as reinforcements.

Anyway, Toni Bajada in the meantime was busting his balls swimming back and forth transporting messages and the loud Sicilian men. After much ado and name-calling, the Turks eventually retreat on September 11th, thus The Great Siege was all done.

You can read more about what the Knights did after the Great Siege in next week’s episode!

Did you enjoy this Knights Special? Stay tuned for Episode Three next week and tag someone who needs to learn more about Malta’s history!

READ NEXT: Malta’s Very Own OG Architect Might’ve Been A Bit Of A Dick

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