The Great Siege of Malta

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The Great Siege of Malta began in 1565 when the Turkish Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent sent a naval force with 40,000 soldiers to capture the Island of Malta from the Christian Knights of St. John(now known as The Order of Malta).

When the Turks landed they first attacked the small fort of St. Elmo. They beheaded and crucified some of the Christian defenders. The Christian leader, Jean Parisot De La Vallette, ordered all Turkish prisoners to be beheaded and their heads used as cannonballs. Thus he ensured that there would be no surrender to the Turks.

After four months of extremely savage fighting, the siege ended when Spanish forces landed in September, 1565. The Turks retreated, having suffered heavy losses. A few years later, the Turks suffered a further defeat at the naval Battle of Lepanto.[1] The Knights held Malta until 1798 when they were forced to surrender by Napoleon Bonaparte.