Ever since the Great Siege of 1565, Malta became known as the impregnable island. It was the home of the Knights of St. John, that highly admired Christian Army formed of the upper crust of Europe’s nobility. And yet, when Napoleon’s fleet turned up at its shores in June 1798, the knights were in a state of disarray. They were incapable of planning or executing a credible defence strategy, much to Europe’s amazement. It was difficult to conceive how centuries of glorious victories could culminate in the disgraceful banishment that followed the surrender of Malta.
These are the memoirs of Pierre-Jean Doublet who was the Grand Master’s secretary for the French Langue. He witnessed the events as they unfolded and left a detailed account of what took place and what, in his view, led to such an unpredictable outcome.