Is there a more epic story in Malta’s history than the Great Siege of 1565?
The incredible story of how a handful of Knights Hospitallier, a few thousand European fighters and the people of Maltese repelled a 40,000-strong Ottoman army at the peak of their power was the talk of the modernised world in the second half of the 16th century.
It brought riches and respect upon the island, with gifts and praise being sent to the Maltese and the Knights from all corners of Europe, with the French philosopher Voltaire saying: “Nothing is better known than the Siege of Malta”.
It was believed that if Catholic Malta had fallen to the Muslim Ottomans, they would have quickly taken Sicily, Italy, and potentially, the rest of Western Europe, turning the continent Islamic.
The historically significant battle has now been given the Kings and Generals treatment.
One of the most popular historical YouTube channels around, Kings and Generals delves into the nitty-gritty of each battle, detailing exactly what went down, day by day – and they show the true grit and determination shown by Maltese fighters when foreign invaders attempted to take their land.
The video lays out the historical context for the battle, explaining just why Sultan Suleiman I, widely considered to be one of the Ottomans’ greatest leaders, became so obsessed with Malta through his rivalry with King Charles V, eventually invading the island.
The details of each of Malta’s forts, as well as their defensive capabilities and day-to-day situations, is broken down, just as the Ottomans broke down the defences during the brutal siege of St Elmo.
The video stresses the series of fortunate events that led to the surprise Maltese win – having stored all the food and water in the forts and poisoned the rest, the Ottoman leader’s decision to attack heavily-guarded St Elmo before anything else, diversionary tactics at key moments in large battles that forced Ottoman retreats, an ambush on their camp just as they were breaking into Birgu, an exceptional bluff by Mdina cannoneers that might have saved the entire city… and, of course, the eventual landing of Don Garcia’s army that forced the Ottoman’s to flee in fear.
It’s also a good reminder of some of the major names involved in the battle
Forget Suleiman, Dragut, and French Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette for one second – the video details how Hernan Cortes, the famed Spanish Conquerer of the Aztec tribes over in the Americas, joined Spanish King Charles V in his battle against the Ottomans right before the siege took place.
The Barbary pirate Barbarossa even makes an appearance in the run-up to the Great Seige, helping release Dragut after his capture by Genoese soldiers.
All in all, it makes for some pretty epic viewing, especially now that Game of Thrones is over.
People were losing it in the comments section, with many historical fans saying they had been waiting for this episode for literal years
“On January 2018, when Kings and Generals had announced their new year’s trailer for the projects yet to come, I had asked for this very siege to be depicted. The content you guys have produced since then has been an absolute delight to watch and now, it’s finally here,” said one excited fan.
That said, a couple of Maltese people clarified some mistakes that Kings and Generals made in their video.
The most glaring error in the video was the Ottoman army’s first entry into Malta, shown as happening in the Grand Harbour.