Birgu Vittoriosa

After its expulsion from Rhodes, the Order was deprived of its sovereign territory and had to content itself with a temporary home for seven years. The Holy Roman Emperor at the time was the Hapsburg Charles V, who was also King of Spain and Hungary. Hungary was then partly occupied by the Ottomans and his Spanish possessions in the Mediterranean were under constant attack from Turkish marauders. Their common enemy brought the Knights and the Emperor together and, seeking urgent relief in the defence of his southern flank, the Emperor was conscious of the need to ensure a strong …

The Order of St John of Jerusalem

A Genealogical Table
© John Cilia La Corte

The Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta or more simply the Order of Malta, was founded by the Blessed Gerard around 1100 to cater for the needs of the Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem. Although it never lost its hospitaller ethos, the Islamic conquest of Palestine forced it into a military role, which it continued to exercise for a further six centuries and played a significant part in preventing the islamisation of Europe.

The fragmentation of the Order following its expulsion …