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Title: Malta
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majorshrapnel
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(Date Posted:21-08-2009 6:16 AM)
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Britain's association with Malta has been a long and mutually beneficial one. Strategically, it couldn't be better placed, yet amazingly, Nelson thought it was of no use, which was not what the French thought.

Malta had been the domain of the Order of the Knights of St John since 1530, when after being driven out of Rhodes by the Ottomans, it was granted to them by Charles V of Spain. Their finest hour was the defence of the Island from the Ottoman empire of Suleiman the Magnificent (who was not apparently magnificent enough to take the place) in1565. At the time the island was seen as a bulwark of Christianity, with Elizabeth 1st herself once saying... if Malta falls, there is no hope for the future of Christianity. A little over dramatic maybe, but a flavour of how important the island was viewed in Christian circles. However, once the threat had gone the Order slowly descended into a feudal oligarchy. The luxury they wallowed in made a mockery of their vows of poverty and their marathon orgies made a further mockery of their vow of celibacy. Naturally, corruption became a way of life and so the ordinary Maltese grew to loath them. They looked for another power to take over from the Knights and a certain Napoleon Bonaparte was only too willing to oblige them.

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majorshrapnel
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Re:Malta
(Date Posted:21-08-2009 6:46 AM)

 

In 1798 Boney parked his fleet outside of the Grand Harbour of Valletta, on his way to conquer Egypt (during his Alexander the Great fantasy phase) and sent a request ashore for water he really didn't need. This left the Maltese in a quandary, because if they gave it to him, they would upset those awfully nice chaps the British and if they refused, it would give Boney an excuse to get tough. The whole charade was a veiled threat and the Knights knew it, so to play for time, they invoked an ancient rule, which stated that no foreigners could have more than four ships in the harbour at any one time. Naturally, Boney ignored their law and put a small armed guard ashore, to test their response, which was to send a full delegation onboard the Flagship L'Orient to sign a full and unreserved capitulation. So, 500 Knights, 2000 soldiers and 10.000 militiamen surrendered without a shot being fired, giving up 1200 cannon, 40.000 muskets and six superb warships. The Knights were mostly shipped off the island, much to the delight of the general population, whose initial euphoria was soon dashed, when they quickly discovered they'd swapped one set of bastards for another. Napoleon was delighted with France's knew acquisition and said of it... whoever would dare to seek to dislodge us from here, will pay dearly in the attempt. Those who would dare were their arch enemy, the British.

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tommytalldog
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RE:Malta
(Date Posted:21-08-2009 7:09 AM)

Didn't the Hun use the Maltese Cross as an insignia?  What is the history of that?

T-Dog
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majorshrapnel
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Re:Malta
(Date Posted:23-08-2009 2:40 AM)

I was rather hoping someone would dive in and answer that one for me Tom, but it appears I've been sadly neglected, abandoned in my prime, hung out to dry, given the cold shoulder, shit on from a dizzy height. There is only one route open to man of honour, I wish to give notice that I am resigning forthwith from this site and shall not return for a full 20 minutes.
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majorshrapnel
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Re:Malta
(Date Posted:23-08-2009 3:23 AM)

Within six days of taking over the island, Boney turned Malta into a French dominion. He made French the official language, abolished the standing nobility, made it compulsory for any citizen in a position of authority to wear the revolutionary cockade, imposed sweeping taxes, yet refused to honour the Knights' Order's debts and pensions. If that wasn't enough to piss them off Royally, he then closed down many of their churches and stole all the valuables. Well, you know Catholics, they're rather fond of their religion and by the time Boney sailed off to conquer Egypt, he'd left a ticking bomb behind. To defuse this bomb he also left 4000 troops under the command of General Vaubois. Held in check for the time being, the Maltese were soon inspired into revolt when they received the news that Nelson's fleet, in a breathtaking act of daring, had destroyed the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile. Boney and his army were now trapped in Egypt and in no position to help the occupying force of Vaubois. The French, in an act of vandalism, spoiled the Churches of Medina and retreated to the fortress of Valletta, where ironically, the magnificent fortifications , built by the Knights for the protection of the Maltese, would for the first time in their history, be tested by the Maltese themselves. Trapped inside, the Maltese now lay siege.

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majorshrapnel
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Re:Malta
(Date Posted:23-08-2009 3:44 AM)

It was a strange twist of fate that the besieged were actually in a better position than the besiegers, as the mighty fortress they occupied held the majority of the Island's food and grain supplies. The Maltese now turned for help to the man who was their rightful owner, that being King Ferdinand of Naples, who had inherited Malta from Charles V of Spain. Unfortunately, he was a weak leader, meek by nature and absolutely frightened to death of Boney. In their desperation, the Maltese now went over Ferdinand's head and appealed to Britain for help. Would Nelson blockade the harbour from French resupply, whilst they got on with the job of containment? The Brits were a little reluctant at first, because of their friendship with the Kingdom of Naples, but they did have an excuse, they were at war with France and this blockade was seen as a legitimate act of war, so yes, they would help..... but with one proviso, in the agreement was written the words, His Britannic Majesty does not entertain any idea of acquiring sovereignty.

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majorshrapnel
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Rank:Field Marshal

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Re:Malta
(Date Posted:24-08-2009 4:08 AM)

 

Asked to surrender, Vaubois replied... Frenchmen do not know the meaning of the word, however, somebody must have explained it to them, as two years later, they did. In between time, the besiegers suffered badly and began to lose hope. They once again turned to the Brits, who agreed to land 1000 troops and cannon on the island to assist in the siege. To run the island, they also landed one of Nelson's captains, Alexander Ball. So efficient and revered became Ball, that everywhere he went, the Maltese would cheer him. Finally the Frogs surrendered and were allowed to march out with all the honours of war and shipped back to France. Britain could now take the island for themselves, but the fact was, Nelson saw no value in it for some reason, as just lately his formidable powers of reason had been hijacked by a curse, the curse of the bearded clam, as he was consumed by Emma Hamilton. Napoleon, on the other hand, held an entirely different view of the importance of the island, saying.... I would rather see the English in Paris than Malta. The Maltese, now having had a taste of British rule, decided they'd like a bit more, so petitioned King Ferdinand to let them send a delegation to London, to ask to become British. The delegation got nowhere, even though they actually waylaid the King on his morning ride, so had to return disappointed. Problem was, Malta was given back to the Order of the Knights of StJohn by the five powers at the treaty of Amiens. The Maltese were outraged and felt betrayed by the Brits. Where were the Knights during the siege? Boney was delighted by this as he knew he would be able to manipulate the Knights to his own advantage, as they were a degenerate lot. In desperation, the Maltese decided to send another delegation to London, which was successful this time, as Nelson had emerged from his curse and suddenly realised the incredible importance of the place. Before that, he had a fixation on Minorca to do the same job, but Malta could not have been situated better for Britain, if it could have been towed elswhere. In 1814 Malta was declared a crown Colony and the Maltese, British subjects. There was widespread rejoicing throughout the Island.

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majorshrapnel
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Re:Malta
(Date Posted:24-08-2009 9:36 AM)

Life on Malta had throughout history always been one of famine or plenty, but under the ordered structure of British rule, stability now led the island's Catholic population (every sperm is sacred) to explode by 300%. It has never been a very fertile island for food growth and every time a new house was built, the soil had to be removed and used elsewhere. Once the Brits introduced industry to the island, these historical fluctuations disappeared. For the British, this island was strategically unmatchable. Suleiman had called it 'a barrier to my possessions' and likewise, in the 20th century Rommel said 'with Malta in our hands, the British would find it impossible to control the Mediterranean.' It was a vital link in the exercising of global power, especially following the building of the Suez Canal in 1869. By 1880, over 3000 steamers and over 2000 ships of sail used Malta every year. The Royal Navy built four dry docks by WW1 and turned it into the HQ of the RN in the Med. Potentially, it was the most aggressively placed colony in the world. As the years rolled by, the island became more and more Anglicized, with red post boxes, opera houses, public schools and the occasional gothic church, but the Brits had a tradition of religious tolerance in her colonies and as such, the Maltese Archbishop was second in charge. Strangely enough, until 120 years ago, the Maltese never had any of their language written down and even though just about everyone spoke the language, civil admin and the judiciary was conducted in Italian. Commerce was conducted in English, but Maltese was the daily language of life. The British sense of fair play, or justice, became outraged by this use of Italian, as when an ordinarry citizen was pleading for his liberties, under English common law, or his life even, they had to do it in Italian and less than 12% of the Islanders could speak it. Something had to change.

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Jimbert
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Re:Malta
(Date Posted:25-08-2009 5:14 AM)

I wonder why most male maltese have the name Jesus?
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shula
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RE:Malta
(Date Posted:25-08-2009 5:44 PM)

Major, don't leave me, don't leave me!  20 minutes without you is a lifetime.  Or about the length of one half-hour tv programme.
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majorshrapnel
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Re:Malta
(Date Posted:26-08-2009 5:50 AM)

Don't worry, my little sugar bonbon, I shall not leave you, or cast you out early. Where you're concerned you will not suffer premature ejaculation.
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majorshrapnel
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Re:Malta
(Date Posted:26-08-2009 6:29 AM)

Wandering onto the social side for a moment. The problems of language lasted a surprisingly long time, due to the over accommodation of Britain's liberal attitude to the various fractious sectors of Maltese society. We should have been more assertive, especially against the Catholic hierarchy, who never missed a chance to flex their muscles, ably prompted from Rome of course. The language was very difficult to print into school books. It may surprise you to know that Maltese never made it out of Malta and was absolutely unknown outside their shores. It was based on the ancient language of Hannibal's Carthage, with Roman characters, sprinkled with Arabic and Sicilian. Educated Maltese studied in Italian, but always spoke their own language, as it was part of their national identity. The Brits finally altered the format, giving Italian the boot and placing English and Maltese in its place.

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majorshrapnel
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Re:Malta
(Date Posted:26-08-2009 9:27 AM)

 

Although a benign rule fell upon Malta, the new rulers left the Maltese in no doubt who was in charge and there was for a time a recognised social segregation. In the early years of rule, no Maltese, no matter what his standing in society, was allowed into a British officer's club but under their new enlightened rulers, there did develop an undercurrent of Maltese political protest, as it's a fact that nobody is as politically vociferous as those who have never had the right to practice it before. The Brits attitude was.... we've given you more freedom, peace and prosperity, what more do you want? Bloody ingrates! But by 1835 they decided to put more democratic ideas into action and granted the islanders a council, which had 7 members, 3 of which could be Maltese. Fifteen years later this council had risen to 15, with 7 Maltese. By 1887 it had a Maltese majority, which campaigned for a first full election, which came in 1900, which despite the offensive carried out by the Maltese politico's, left the Brits feeling rather smug, as when the pudding was opened up, the proof was....less than 50% of the populace bothered to turn out. 100 years of harmony and general contentment made sure of that. The only real problems the British Colonial govt faced came from the antagonistic Catholic church. For instance, in 1930 the Archbishop of Malta claimed that the British Colonial leader, Lord Strickland, was somehow hostile to ecclesiastical interests and told the island's citizens that to vote in a British inspired election was not only a grave sin, but if they defied the church on the matter, they would be denied the consolation of the sacrament. The British government complained to the Pope that the Catholic church was interfering with the democratic liberties of a legitimate election process, but the Pope, under pressure from Mussolini, upheld the Archbishop's complaint, which resulted in the Government suspending the Constitution and the election. Mussolini continued his bellicose stand over Malta for many years, claiming the Island as the property of Italy and at one point, threatened an invasion of the Island during his Abyssinian campaign. Whilst some of the Maltese might have listened to the church, this incident proved conclusively that the Maltese were enthusiastically pro British, as they totally rejected any claim from Italy. This threat of invasion actually forced the Royal Navy to move most of its fleet to Alexandria, as the close presence of Italy made the fleet vulnerable to air attack and Malta had no air defence. This timely posturing by Mussolini taught the Brits a welcome lesson and Malta would get its air cover, its airfield and anti aircraft guns before the start of WW2 when the Maltese would prove what staunch and courageous allies they were, playing a major roll in the winning of the war in the Med and North Africa.

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MarkGB
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Status: Britney's Plaything
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RE:Malta
(Date Posted:26-08-2009 12:17 PM)

Malta is the only country that regularly gives GB the full 12 points in the Eurovision Song Contest, such are the ties with us. 
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Feller
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RE:Malta
(Date Posted:26-08-2009 8:48 PM)

Malta  was  the base  for  UK  SS in  Mediterrian . It was  heavily  bombed  and
yet the  place held out  and  in 1942 the  whole Island was  awarded the George Cross , it was place on the Maltese  flag
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majorshrapnel
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Re:Malta
(Date Posted:28-08-2009 2:07 AM)

Which is what I'm building upto Feller, Malta's amazing contribution to the winning of the war in the Med and North Africa. One of the greatest examples of courage, cunning and fortitude in the annals of war.
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Flashman206
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RE:Malta
(Date Posted:14-04-2010 5:05 PM)

The Maltese never wanted independence but the Libya loving pro Communist Dom Mintoff saw to that

She enjoyed a Dominion type Independence from 1964, then, 

" The elections of 1971, saw the Malta Labour Party win by just over 4000 votes. As soon as he became Prime Minister, Dom Mintoff declared that Malta has a Socialist Government, even though prior to the General Elections he denied that his Party had Socialist inclinations. Prime Minister Mintoff won the 1976 elections by a slightly higher margin. Between 1976 and 1981 Malta went though difficult times and the Labour government demanded that the Maltese were to tighten their belts in order to overcome the difficulties Malta was facing. Malta went through its darkest period after the 1981 general elections, when it saw the PN gaining an absolute majority of votes, yet the MLP, through gerrymandering, winning the majority of Parliamentary seats. Mintoff although rejected by the absolute majority of the electorate, remained Prime Minister"

Following which she declared herself a Libyan satellite. Well done Labour.
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MarkUK
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Rank:Field Marshal

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RE:Malta
(Date Posted:15-04-2010 12:09 PM)

Malta was granted independence in the final weeks of Sir Alec Douglas-Home's Conservative government in September 1964 as a Dominion, the last of a whole host of colonies granted independence by the Tories 1956-64. But within three months it had declared itself a Republic; December 1964.  
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Flashman206
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Reply To majorshrapnel
(Date Posted:16-04-2010 2:54 AM)

Reply to majorshrapnel (08/23/2009 9:40 AM)

I was rather hoping someone would dive in and answer that one for me Tom, but it appears I've been sadly neglected, abandoned in my prime, hung out to dry, given the cold shoulder, shit on from a dizzy height. There is only one route open to man of honour, I wish to give notice that I am resigning forthwith from this site and shall not return for a full 20 minutes.

One could say the correct name is Hospitaller's cross.

The Maltese cross was the symbol of the Knights Hospitaller (speling?), and its shape is 4 arms the ends split into 2 (this is where we get Catholic speak) to give 8 Beatitudes. Le croix Patte. Their Knights passed it to Malta. My sister regiment the Royal Greenjackets wore it. As did the Rifle brigade.There are a lot of bastardisations , with the v shaped split in the arms changed to a curve. Or a straight end.  There is confusion as the George Cross medal was awarded to Malta, and that  is totally different.



(Message edited by Flashman206 On 16-04-2010 2:57 AM)
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goldenstar
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From: United Kingdom
Registered:17-01-2009

Re:Malta
(Date Posted:07-11-2014 10:01 AM)

 with  refugees  fleeing all these  arab  regimes in the past year or  two... Malta  would be having  a massive  arab immigration problem
to  cope with.... at least as bad as that  island  s of  Italy
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MarkUK
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Rank:Field Marshal

Status: Britney's Plaything
Score:9988
Posts:9988
From: United Kingdom
Registered:12-11-2009

RE:Malta
(Date Posted:07-11-2014 12:56 PM)

We hear a lot about the Italian island of Pantelleria and their problem with boatloads of refugees turning up, but nothing about Malta which must be suffering the same. 
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You're playing chess with Fate and Fate's winning.
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