200 ships from the
ottoman empire CIRCLED the island and started
The Great Siege of Malta commenced in May of 1565 when the Ottoman Empire began invading the island of Malta, which was then occupied by the Order of the Knights of St John. After several months of continuous battle and bloodshed the Siege came to an end on the 8th of September, a date that continues to be commemorated with the annual public holiday Il-Vitorja. The dramatic unfolding of the Siege had a substantial effect on the continent, leading to the founding of Valletta a year later. Military figures such as the Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette and the Ottoman Admiral Dragut Reis continue to be characters of much intrigue and speculation. Voltaire himself had said ‘rien est plus connu que la siège de Malte’ (nothing is so well known as the siege of Malta).