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A comprehensive listing

Michael Galea:
Malta – Admirals of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta.
Horizona, 2016.

In my formative years as a young historian studying Maltese history, the author Michael Galea was always present on our reading list at University. To that reading list, today, we can add the present work. The Admirals of the Order of St John were the de facto heads of the Order’s Naval Military Arm. Constitutionally, the Admirals were always Italian.

They were in control of the Galleys and, by the 18th century, they were also in charge of the ship of the line squadron. Of course, each squadron had a sub-altern which answered to the admiral.

Galea has painstakingly collected information on all the admirals that were in office at Malta throughout the 268 years stay of the Order’s fleet in Malta. Some famous names form part of this list, including Grandmaster Del Monte, the man who transferred the Order from Vittoriosa to Valletta, Fra Francesco La Motta, a famous survivor of the Siege of 1565, Fra Opizio Guidotto, Fra Bartolomeo Del Pozzo and Fra Pietro Rosselmini. Each entry has all the biographical details of every admiral, many of which have been painstakingly researched by the author.

Each entry has all the biographical details of every admiral, many of which have been painstakingly researched by the author

The list is complete. Some entries even include the epitaph of the said admiral found at St John’s Co-Cathedral. The book is a must for any historian in search for a reference work about the Admirals of the Order. I am sure it will come in handy to many a reader intent on plundering upon the sea lanes of Maltese maritime history.

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