Malta known as the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km south of Italy, 284 km east of Tunisia, 333 km north of Libya. With a population of about 475,000 over an area of 316 km2, Malta is the world's tenth smallest and fifth most densely populated country, its capital is Valletta, the smallest national capital in the European Union by area at 0.8 km.2 The official languages are Maltese and English, with Maltese recognised as the national language and the only Semitic language in the European Union. Malta has been inhabited since 5900 BC, its location in the centre of the Mediterranean has given it great strategic importance as a naval base, with a succession of powers having contested and ruled the islands, including the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Greeks, Normans, Knights of St. John and British. Most of these foreign influences have left some sort of mark on the country's ancient culture. Malta became a British colony in 1815, serving as a way station for ships and the headquarters for the British Mediterranean Fleet.
It played an important role in the Allied war effort during the Second World War, was subsequently awarded the George Cross for its bravery in the face of an Axis siege, the George Cross appears on Malta's national flag. The British Parliament passed the Malta Independence Act in 1964, giving Malta independence from the United Kingdom as the State of Malta, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and queen; the country became a republic in 1974. It has been a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations since independence, joined the European Union in 2004. Malta has a long Christian legacy and its Archdiocese is claimed to be an apostolic see because Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked on "Melita", according to Acts of the Apostles, now taken to be Malta. While Catholicism is the official religion in Malta, Article 40 of the Constitution states that "all persons in Malta shall have full freedom of conscience and enjoy the free exercise of their respective mode of religious worship."Malta is a popular tourist destination with its warm climate, numerous recreational areas, architectural and historical monuments, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni and seven megalithic temples which are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.
The origin of the name Malta is uncertain, the modern-day variation is derived from the Maltese language. The most common etymology is that the word Malta is derived from the Greek word μέλι, meli, "honey"; the ancient Greeks called the island Μελίτη meaning "honey-sweet" for Malta's unique production of honey. The Romans called the island Melita, which can be considered either a latinisation of the Greek Μελίτη or the adaptation of the Doric Greek pronunciation of the same word Μελίτα; this spelling is found in the New Testament. Another conjecture suggests that the word Malta comes from the Phoenician word Maleth, "a haven", or'port' in reference to Malta's many bays and coves. Few other etymological mentions appear in classical literature, with the term Malta appearing in its present form in the Antonine Itinerary. Malta has been inhabited from around 5900 BC, since the arrival of settlers from the island of Sicily. A significant prehistoric Neolithic culture marked by Megalithic structures, which date back to c. 3600 BC, existed on the islands, as evidenced by the temples of Mnajdra and others.
The Phoenicians colonised Malta between 800 -- 700 BC, bringing their Semitic culture. They used the islands as an outpost from which they expanded sea explorations and trade in the Mediterranean until their successors, the Carthaginians, were ousted by the Romans in 216 BC with the help of the Maltese inhabitants, under whom Malta became a municipium. After a period of Byzantine rule and a probable sack by the Vandals, the islands were invaded by the Aghlabids in AD 870; the fate of the population after the Arab invasion is unclear but it seems the islands may have been depopulated and were to have been repopulated in the beginning of the second millennium by settlers from Arab-ruled Sicily who spoke Siculo-Arabic. The Muslim rule was ended by the Normans who conquered the island in 1091; the islands were re-Christianised by 1249. The islands were part of the Kingdom of Sicily until 1530, were controlled by the Capetian House of Anjou. In 1530 Charles I of Spain gave the Maltese islands to the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in perpetual lease.
The French under Napoleon took hold of the Maltese islands in 1798, although with the aid of the British the Maltese were able to oust French control two years later. The inhabitants subsequently asked Britain to assume sovereignty over the islands under the conditions laid out in a Declaration of Rights, stating that "his Majesty has no right to cede these Islands to any power...if he chooses to withdraw his protection, abandon his sovereignty, the right of electing another sovereign, or of the governing of these Islands, belongs to us, the inhabitants and aborigines alone, without control." As part of the Treaty of Paris in 1814, Malta became a British colony rejecting an attempted integration with the United Kingdom in 1956. Malta became independent on 21 September 1964. Under its 1964 constitution
A ditch in military engineering is an obstacle, designed to slow down or break up an attacking force, while a trench is intended to provide cover to the defenders. In military fortifications the side of a ditch farthest from the enemy and closest to the next line of defence is known as the scarp while the side of a ditch closest to the enemy is known as the counterscarp. In early fortifications, ditches were used in combination with ramparts to slow down the enemy whilst defensive fire could be brought to bear from the relative protection afforded by the rampart and the palisade. In medieval fortification, a ditch was constructed in front of a defensive wall to hinder mining and escalade activities from an attacker; when filled with water, such a defensive ditch is called a moat. However, moats may be dry. Star forts designed by military engineers like Vauban, comprised elaborate networks of ditches and parapets calculated so that the soil for the raised earthworks was provided, as nearly as possible by the excavations whilst maximising defensive firepower.
Today ditches are obsolescent as an anti-personnel obstacle, but are still used as anti-vehicle obstacles. A fence concealed in a ditch is called a ha-ha. Scarp: the inner side of the ditch is called the scarp slope; this may be revetted with masonry or brickwork, in which case, it is called the "scarp wall". Cordon: a course of protruding masonry along the top of a scarp wall, intended to make it harder for an enemy to stand a ladder against it. Rampart: the actual wall of the fort which can be made of earth or masonry, is topped by a parapet for the defenders to fire over, slopes away from the ditch. Berm: a ledge between the scarp wall and the exterior slope of the rampart, designed to increase the stability of the rampart and prevent any falling debris from compromising the ditch. Faussebraye: a secondary parapet between the rampart and the inner edge of the ditch. Carnot wall: a loopholed wall between the rampart and the inner edge of the ditch. Chemin de ronde: a pathway running along the berm, behind the faussebraye or Carnot wall.
Cunette: a narrow channel that runs along the floor of the ditch for drainage purposes. Bartardeau: a type of masonry dam across a ditch, part wet and part dry. Counterscarp: the outer slope or wall of the ditch. Sally port: a small door allowing the defenders to enter the ditch should it be occupied by the enemy. Caponier: a masonry or brick structure extending into the ditch or traversing across it. Counterscarp gallery: a passage constructed behind the counterscarp wall and pierced with loopholes, which enables the defenders to fire on attackers who have entered the ditch. Glacis: an earth slope angled away from the ditch. Covered way: a path running between the outer edge of the ditch and the glacis, allowing defending troops to move around the exterior of the fort. Place-of-arms: an open area of the covered way at an angle of the ditch, where defenders could assemble for a sally or counter attack. Border barrier
Victorian architecture is a series of architectural revival styles in the mid-to-late 19th century. Victorian refers to the reign of Queen Victoria, called the Victorian era, during which period the styles known as Victorian were used in construction. However, many elements of what is termed "Victorian" architecture did not become popular until in Victoria's reign; the styles included interpretations and eclectic revivals of historic styles. The name represents the British and French custom of naming architectural styles for a reigning monarch. Within this naming and classification scheme, it followed Georgian architecture and Regency architecture, was succeeded by Edwardian architecture. During the early 19th century, the romantic medieval Gothic revival style was developed as a reaction to the symmetry of Palladianism, such buildings as Fonthill Abbey were built. By the middle of the 19th century, as a result of new technology, construction was able to incorporate steel as a building component.
Paxton continued to build such houses as Mentmore Towers, in the still popular English Renaissance styles. New methods of construction were developed in this era of prosperity, but the architectural styles, as developed by such architects as Augustus Pugin, were retrospective. In Scotland, the architect Alexander Thomson who practiced in Glasgow was a pioneer of the use of cast iron and steel for commercial buildings, blending neo-classical conventionality with Egyptian and oriental themes to produce many original structures. Other notable Scottish architects of this period are Archibald Simpson and Alexander Marshall Mackenzie whose stylistically varied work can be seen in the architecture of Aberdeen. While Scottish architects pioneered this style it soon spread right across the United Kingdom and remained popular for another 40 years, its architectural value in preserving and reinventing the past is significant. Its influences were diverse but the Scottish architects who practiced it were inspired by unique ways to blend architecture and everyday life in a meaningful way.
Jacobethan Renaissance Revival Neo-Grec Romanesque Revival Second Empire Queen Anne Revival Scots Baronial British Arts and Crafts movement While not uniquely Victorian, part of revivals that began before the era, these styles are associated with the 19th century owing to the large number of examples that were erected during that period. Victorian architecture has many intricate window frames inspired by the famous architect Elliot Rae. Gothic Revival Italianate Neoclassicism During the 18th century, a few English architects emigrated to the colonies, but as the British Empire became established during the 19th century, many architects emigrated at the start of their careers; some chose the United States, others went to Canada and New Zealand. They applied architectural styles that were fashionable when they left England. By the latter half of the century, improving transport and communications meant that remote parts of the Empire had access to publications such as the magazine The Builder, which helped colonial architects keep informed about current fashion.
Thus, the influence of English architecture spread across the world. Several prominent architects produced English-derived designs around the world, including William Butterfield and Jacob Wrey Mould; the Victorian period flourished in Australia and is recognised as being from 1840 to 1890, which saw a gold rush and population boom during the 1880s in the state of Victoria. There were fifteen styles that predominated: The Arts and Crafts style and Queen Anne style are considered to be part of the Federation Period, from 1890 to 1915. During the British colonial period of British Ceylon: Sri Lanka Law College, Sri Lanka College of Technology and the Galle Face Hotel. In the United States,'Victorian' architecture describes styles that were most popular between 1860 and 1900. A list of these styles most includes Second Empire, Stick-Eastlake, Folk Victorian, Queen Anne, Richardsonian Romanesque, Shingle; as in the United Kingdom, examples of Gothic Revival and Italianate continued to be constructed during this period, are therefore sometimes called Victorian.
Some historians classify the years of Gothic Revival as a distinctive Victorian style named High Victorian Gothic. Stick-Eastlake, a manner of geometric, machine-cut decorating derived from Stick and Queen Anne, is sometimes considered a distinct style. On the other hand, terms such as "Painted Ladies" or "gingerbread" may be used to describe certain Victorian buildings, but do not constitute a specific style; the names of architectural styles varied between countries. Many homes combined the elements of several different styles and are not distinguishable as one particular style or another. In the United States of America, notable cities which developed or were rebuilt during this era include Alameda, Albany, Troy, Boston, the Brooklyn Heights and Victorian Flatbush sections of New York City, Rochester, Columbus, Eureka, Galveston, Grand Rapids, Jersey City/Hoboken, Cape May, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Richmond, Saint Paul, Midtown in Sacramento, Angelino Heigh
1634 Valletta explosion
On 12 September 1634, a Hospitaller gunpowder factory in Valletta, Malta accidentally blew up, killing 22 people and causing severe damage to a number of buildings. The factory had been built sometime in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, replacing an earlier one in Fort St. Angelo in Birgu, it was located in the lower part of Valletta, close to the Slaves' Prison. The explosion damaged college; the church's façade was rebuilt in around 1647 by the architect Francesco Buonamici, while the damaged parts of the college were rebuilt after the explosion. The gunpowder factory was not rebuilt. In around 1667, a new factory was constructed in Floriana, far away from any residential areas; this factory was incorporated into the Ospizio complex in the early 18th century. 1806 Birgu polverista explosion
Fortifications of Valletta
The fortifications of Valletta are a series of defensive walls and other fortifications which surround the capital city of Valletta, Malta. The first fortification to be built was Fort Saint Elmo in 1552, but the fortifications of the city proper began to be built in 1566 when it was founded by Grand Master Jean de Valette. Modifications were made throughout the following centuries, with the last major addition being Fort Lascaris, completed in 1856. Most of the fortifications remain intact today; the city of Valletta, along with Nicosia in Cyprus, was considered to be a practical example of an ideal city of the Renaissance, this was due to its fortifications as well as the urban life within the city. The fortifications were well known throughout Europe by the 17th century, might have influenced the designs of part of the Fortress of Luxembourg. In an 1878 book, Valletta was described as "one of the best fortified in the world." Today, Valletta's fortifications are regarded as the most important of the fortifications of Malta, they form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The construction of a fortified city on the Sciberras Peninsula was first proposed in 1524, when the Order of St. John sent a commission to inspect the Maltese Islands. Back the only fortification on the peninsula was a militia watchtower built by the Aragonese in 1488; the tower was strengthened in 1533, but the proposed city was not built since the Order focused on building the fortifications of Birgu, which had become their base. In 1551, an Ottoman force attacked Malta, sacked Gozo and captured Tripoli, as a result, the Order set up a commission to improve the island's fortifications. In 1552, the Aragonese watchtower was demolished and Fort Saint Elmo was built in its place; the fort played a significant role in the Great Siege of Malta of 1565. It fell after a month of fierce fighting; the knights held out in Birgu and Senglea until a relief force arrived, the siege was lifted. After the Order emerged victorious from the siege, it received financial support from Europe, used to construct the new capital city on the Sciberras Peninsula.
The Italian engineer Francesco Laparelli was sent by the Pope to design the city's fortifications, which were designed along the Italian bastioned system. Laparelli's original design consisted with nine cavaliers and a ditch; the city was to be designed along a grid plan, was to include a naval arsenal and a Manderaggio. The city's first stone was laid by Grand Master Jean de Valette on 28 March 1566, the new city was called Valletta in his honour; the city walls were among the first structures to be built within the city, were complete by the 1570s. Some changes were made to the design while the city was being constructed, only two cavaliers were constructed, while the arsenal and Manderaggio were never built. Fort St. Elmo, damaged in the 1565 siege, was rebuilt and integrated in the city walls; the city of Valletta became the capital city of Malta and the seat of the Order on 18 March 1571, although it was still unfinished. By the end of the 16th century, Valletta was the largest settlement in Malta.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, Valletta's fortifications were strengthened with the construction of various outworks, consisting of four counterguards along the land front, as well as a covertway and a glacis. The northern end of the peninsula, including Fort St. Elmo, was enclosed in a bastioned enceinte in the late 1680s to prevent a landing from the sea. Despite the modifications, it was realized that the walls of Valletta were not strong enough to withstand a long siege. In 1635, construction of the Floriana Lines commenced; the Floriana Lines were modified until the 18th century. On, the suburb of Floriana developed in the area between the Floriana Lines and the Valletta Land Front, it is now a town in its own right; the flanks of the city were further protected in the 17th and 18th century, with the construction of the Santa Margherita Lines, Cottonera Lines and Fort Ricasoli on the Grand Harbour side, Fort Manoel and Fort Tigné on the Marsamxett side. Further proposals, including construction of fortifications on Corradino and Ta' Xbiex, were made but were never implemented.
The fortifications of Valletta first saw use during the French invasion of Malta on 9 June 1798. The Order capitulated only three days on 12 June, Valletta and its fortifications were handed over to the French. Upon viewing the fortifications, Napoleon remarked "I am glad that they opened the gate for us."A couple of months after the beginning of the French occupation, the Maltese people rebelled against the French and blockaded them in the Harbour area with British and Portuguese support. The French managed to hold out in Valletta until September 1800, when General Vaubois capitulated to the British, who took control of the islands. Various modifications were made to Valletta's fortifications during British rule; the most significant of these was the construction of Fort Lascaris between 1854 and 1856. Other alterations included the addition of batteries and concrete gun emplacements, changes to parapets and their embrasures, the construction of gunpowder magazines. All three original Hospitaller gateways to Valletta were demolished, two of them were replaced by larger gates.
The British proposed the demolition of the fortifications a number of times in the 19th century. The first proposal was made by Major-General Henry Pigot at the beginning of the century. In 1853, a proposal was ma
Rising of the Priests
The Rising of the Priests known as the Maltese Rebellion of 1775 and the September 1775 Rebellion, was an uprising led by Maltese clergy against the Order of Saint John, who had sovereignty over Malta. The uprising was suppressed by the Order within a few hours; the rebels were captured and some were executed, exiled or imprisoned. The causes of the revolt can be traced back to 1773, when Francisco Ximenes de Texada was elected Grand Master upon the death of Manuel Pinto da Fonseca. Upon his election, Ximenes found a depleted treasury, so he introduced austerity measures, including reducing spending and increasing the price of corn; these made him unpopular, both with the common people. Ximenes issued an edict banning the hunting of hares, was opposed by Bishop Giovanni Carmine Pellerano and the clergy. Other events created tension between the clergy and the Order. Due to the tension between the Order and the clergy, the negative public opinion of Ximenes, some priests led by Don Gaetano Mannarino began to plot against the Order.
They chose 8 September as the day of the rebellion, when the Order's ships were at sea with the Spanish Navy and Valletta was not well defended. A total of 28 clergymen and a larger number of laymen were involved in the planning of the uprising. On 8 September 1775, the day of the revolt, only 18 of the 28 clergymen showed up. Despite this, Mannarino still decided to carry on with the uprising. A group of 13 people took over Fort Saint Elmo on the northern tip of Valletta, while the rest of the rebels captured Saint James Cavalier on the opposite end of the city. In both cases, the Order's flag was lowered and the banner of St. Paul was hoisted instead; when the uprising broke out, Ximenes summoned the Council of State to see how to suppress the revolt. The Council sent the Vicar General to find out the demands of the rebels. However, at one point they threatened to blow St. Elmo's gunpowder magazine, which would cause severe damage to the fort and the city's fortifications. Due to this, the Order decided to recapture the occupied fortifications by force.
St. Elmo was captured after a brief exchange of fire. Of the 18 priests involved, only 12 remained at their posts to the end. After surrendering, the rebels were imprisoned in Fort St. Elmo; the first trials continued after the death of Ximenes on 4 November. Three of the rebels were executed, while others were exiled or acquitted; the ringleader Mannarino was one of those sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released along with other political prisoners, after over twenty years imprisonment, during the French occupation of Malta in 1798, he died in 1814, at the age of 81. Notes
Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke and the King died in 1820, Victoria was raised under close supervision by her mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, she inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. The United Kingdom was an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held little direct political power. Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Victoria married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840, their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the sobriquet "the grandmother of Europe". After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria avoided public appearances.
As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors and is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, political and military change within the United Kingdom, was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire, she was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, initiated the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father. Victoria's father was Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of the reigning King of the United Kingdom, George III; until 1817, Edward's niece, Princess Charlotte of Wales, was the only legitimate grandchild of George III. Her death in 1817 precipitated a succession crisis that brought pressure on the Duke of Kent and his unmarried brothers to marry and have children.
In 1818 he married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, a widowed German princess with two children—Carl and Feodora —by her first marriage to the Prince of Leiningen. Her brother Leopold was Princess Charlotte's widower; the Duke and Duchess of Kent's only child, was born at 4.15 a.m. on 24 May 1819 at Kensington Palace in London. Victoria was christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners-Sutton, on 24 June 1819 in the Cupola Room at Kensington Palace, she was baptised Alexandrina after one of her godparents, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, Victoria, after her mother. Additional names proposed by her parents—Georgina and Augusta—were dropped on the instructions of Kent's eldest brother, the Prince Regent. At birth, Victoria was fifth in the line of succession after the four eldest sons of George III: George, the Prince Regent; the Prince Regent had no surviving children, the Duke of York had no children. The Duke of Clarence and the Duke of Kent married on the same day in 1818, but both of Clarence's legitimate daughters died as infants.
The first of these was Princess Charlotte, born and died on 27 March 1819, two months before Victoria was born. Victoria's father died in January 1820. A week her grandfather died and was succeeded by his eldest son as George IV. Victoria was third in line to the throne after York and Clarence. Clarence's second daughter was Princess Elizabeth of Clarence who lived for twelve weeks from 10 December 1820 to 4 March 1821 and, while Elizabeth lived, Victoria was fourth in line; the Duke of York died in 1827. When George IV died in 1830, he was succeeded by his next surviving brother, Clarence, as William IV, Victoria became heir presumptive; the Regency Act 1830 made special provision for Victoria's mother to act as regent in case William died while Victoria was still a minor. King William distrusted the Duchess's capacity to be regent, in 1836 he declared in her presence that he wanted to live until Victoria's 18th birthday, so that a regency could be avoided. Victoria described her childhood as "rather melancholy".
Her mother was protective, Victoria was raised isolated from other children under the so-called "Kensington System", an elaborate set of rules and protocols devised by the Duchess and her ambitious and domineering comptroller, Sir John Conroy, rumoured to be the Duchess's lover. The system prevented the princess from meeting people whom her mother and Conroy deemed undesirable, was designed to render her weak and dependent upon them; the Duchess avoided the court because she was scandalised by the presence of King William's illegitimate children. Victoria shared a bedroom with her mother every night, studied with private tutors to a regular timetable, spent her play-hours with her dolls and her King Charles Spaniel, Dash, her lessons included French, German and Latin, but she spoke only English at home. In 1830, the Duchess of Kent and Conroy took Victoria across the centre of England to visit the Malvern Hills, stopping at towns and great country houses along the way. Similar journeys to oth