Napoleon Bonaparte’s letter ordering General Desaix to gather the troops and set sail towards Malta to prepare for invasion has been acquired by Heritage Malta.
“This letter has great significance for Maltese history,” explained Liam Gauci, the Maritime Museum’s principal curator. “In it, one can also observe Bonaparte’s strategic military mind at his peak, just prior to his Egyptian campaign.”
In the letter, Napoleon tells General Desaix to “assemble the armies, impound ships, arm them, and meet off Syracuse” to get closer to Malta.
The National Agency for Cultural Heritage acquired the letter for €60,000 during an auction by renowned auction house Sotheby’s. The letter was acquired through national funds, and it is now making its way to Malta.
“Bonaparte’s Egyptian campaign brought together the largest expeditionary fleet ever assembled in the Mediterranean,” explained Mario Cutajar, Heritage Malta’s Executive Director. “This letter will be displayed within the context of the Maritime Museum, once restoration works are completed.”
Within days of approaching Malta, the Knights surrendered with little to no resistance, and Malta and its people were placed under French rule for two years when a British-aided uprising ousted them.
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