*** Malta history Maltese medieval history

Malta: Medieval History (395- )

Malta history
Figure 1.--This depiction of the Great Seige of Malta (1565) would be a turning opoint in European history. It was on Malta that Europeans first began to effectively resist Ottoman expansion. This was a conflict between Christian and Islamic warriors. The deciding facor, however would not be theology, but the science and technology that would be nurtuted in Christendom and supressed in the Muslim world. The scene was painted by Charles Philippe Lariviere about 1842.

Medieval Era included a Christuan-Byzantine, Arab and Christian-Catholic era. The Byzantines with brief interuptions controlled the island for about five centuries. The Eastern Empire seized control (395 AD). The Vandals who estblished a North African kingdom seized the island (454). The Ostergoths who occupied Italy and Sicly seized the island (464). A rejuvenste Byzantine Empire defeated the Vandals and recooupied Catrthage (533). They seized Malta at this time. Soon after the Byzantines moved north to seize Sicly nd eventually Italy itself. The Islamic outburst from Arabia swept over North Africa (8th century). The Governor of Muslim Sicily seized Malta (870). The Normans as part of the Crusades reconquered Sicily and Malta became Christian once again (1090). Norman rule resulted in the expansion of trade and commerce as well as a flowering of the arts and sciences as Malta was reoriented toward Europe, especially Sicily (12th century). The end of the Hautville dynasty (1194), resulted in considerable confusion and struggles over vthe control of Malta. There were intervals of prosperity and distreassing chaos. Malta became caught up in the wider Mediterranean and religious struggles. The dynasties struggling to control Malta included: Hohenstaufers (especially Frederick II), the Angevins, the Aragonnese, the Venetians, the Genoese, the Papacy, and the kings of France. There was also the Arabs and Ottomans who added a religious dimension to the various struggles. Malta, together with Sicily, became part of the Hapsburg empire (16th century). It woukld be Knights that would fight one of the decisive battles of history. The Knights of St. John or Knights Hospitallers had defended Rhodes from a young Suleman who would become Sulleman the Magificemt. Sulleman commanded 400 shios and a huge army of 100,000 men. The knights defended Rhodes with a tiny army and after an extended seige were forced to surrender (1522). Charles V granted Malta to the Knights of St John (1530). A much older Sulleman decided to conquer Malta, again facing an even smaller force of the the Knights (1522). This time almost unbelievably the tiny firce of Knights led by Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette withstood another massive Ottoman army (1565). The Ottomans after a bloody 4-month seige departed. Valletta, the new capital city was named to honor the Grand Master. The Great Siege of Malta was the climax in the Mediterranean of an escalating conflict of varying Christian alliances and the Islamic Ottoman Empire. It was finally settled by the failure of the Otomans to take Malta and the decisive Spanish victory in the Battle of Lepanto (1571). Malta became a bulwark against the Ottomans, restricting the Ottoman Navy to bthe eastern Mediterranean. The Knights held out against an overwealming Ottoman force beseiging the Island (1565).


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Created: 7:17 AM 4/11/2023
Last updated: 7:17 AM 4/11/2023