Sovereign Military Order of Malta
 
 
Though without a territory since 12 Jun 1798, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta still regards itself, and is regarded by the states that give it diplomatic recognition, as a sovereign state. The Knights of Malta (full style Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta, Knights of Malta and Chevaliers of Malta [SMOM]. It was a Christian organization that began as an Amalfitan hospital founded in Jerusalem in 1080 to provide care for poor, sick or injured pilgrims to the Holy Land. After the Western Christian re-conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 during the First Crusade it became a religious/military order under its own charter, and was charged with the care and defense of the Holy Land. Following the conquest of the Holy Land by Islamic forces, the Order operated from Rhodes, over which it was sovereign, and later from Malta where it administered a vassal state under the Spanish viceroy of Sicily.
It has limited diplomatic status as a "sovereign entity", complete with passports, coinage (via the world's smallest national mint), license plates, ITU amateur radio license prefix (1A) and a post office. The Knights of St. John Hospitaler of Jerusalem now functions as a Roman Catholic as an order devoted to the construction and maintenance of medical facilities for use by pilgrims and others in the Holy Land. In this task they have persevered to the present day, and are still widely known for their charitable works in health and human services. As crusaders though, they quickly developed into a military order as well, and were instrumental in defending Acre and Cyprus, conquering and holding Rhodes, and holding Malta (by which name they are still generally known today). After Malta was captured by the French and British during the Napoleonic wars, the Order fell on hard times, but was revived in the later 19th century as an instrument of Roman Catholic charitable works. Currently the SMOM maintains diplomatic relations with 103 countries and Palestine.

Headquarters: Palazzo di Malta Via Condotti 68 (Rome, Italy). Other assets are Villa Malta and the crest of the AventineHill in Rome as well.
The headquarter of the Order were successively at Jerusalem 1099-1187, Acre 1187-1291, Cyprus 1291-1310, Rhodes 1310-1522, Malta 1530-1798, Trieste 1798-1799, St. Petersburg 1799-1803, Catania 1803-1825, Ferrara 1826-1834 and Rome 1834-date.
Knights of Saint John possessions:
  • Cos (1215-1523)
  • Malta (1530-1798)
  • Rhodes (1309-1522)
  • St. Barthelemy (1653-1667)
  • St. Croix (1651-1665)
  • St. Martin (1651-1665)
  • Strakonice, a castle and surrounding buildings in Czech Republic (c. 1400-1798)
  • Tortuga, a Haiti Island (1653-1667).
SMOM has had no sovereign territory (other than Fort St Angelo in Malta and a few properties in Italy with extraterritoriality) since the loss of the island of Malta in 1798. The United Nations does not classify it as a "non-member state" but as one of the "entities and intergovernmental organizations having received a standing invitation to participate as observers." For instance, while the International Telecommunication Union has granted radio identification prefixes to such quasi-sovereign jurisdictions as the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority, SMOM has never received one. For awards purposes, amateur radio operators consider SMOM to be a separate "entity", but stations transmitting from there use an entirely unofficial callsign, starting with the prefix "1A". Likewise, for internet identification, the SMOM has neither sought nor been granted a top-level domain.
 
 
                    c.1050  Order of St. John founded.
               15 Feb 1113  Pope Paschal II approved the foundation of the Hospital of
                             St. John of Jerusalem.
               08 Apr 1271  The Knights Hospitaller surrendered the Krak des Chevaliers
                             (castle in Syria) to the army of the Mamluk sultan Baibars.
               15 Aug 1310  The Knights Hospitaller occupy the island of Rhodes
                             (Knights of St. John Hospitaller of Jerusalem and Rhodes).
   Apr 1383 - 1409          During the Great Schism in Papacy, the Order on Rhodes, under
                             Grand Master Fernández de Heredia, recognizes the Papal
                             court at Avignon. As a consequence the Popes in Rome declare
                             Heredia deposed and appointed Lieutenants in his place,
                             these were not recognized on Rhodes.
               24 Dec 1522  The Knights are expelled from Rhodes by Ottoman Empire.
               23 Mar 1530  Malta granted as a fiefdom to the Knights of St. John
                             Hospitaller by Emperor Charles V (Tripoli also granted but
                             was relinquished in 1551).
               26 Oct 1530  Knights of St. John Hospitaller take possession of Malta
                             (Sovereign and Military Order of the Knights of Malta);
                             as a feudal fief of the Kingdom of "Sicily" (Naples).
               15 Nov 1530  Date of the formal enfeoffment of the Order with the Island of
                             Malta by the King of Sicily (in the event the Roman Emperor
                             Charles V).
 18 May 1565 - 08 Sep 1565  Ottoman siege of Malta.
                      1607  Grand masters also made princes of Holy Roman Empire
                             (confirmed 1620).
                      1630  Grand masters ecclesiastical precedence equal to the dignity
                             of a Cardinal of the Roman Church with the style of
                             "His Most Eminent Highness."
               12 Jun 1798  French occupy Malta, expulsion the Knights.
               05 Sep 1800  British occupy Malta (making it a colony in 1814).
               14 Dec 1822  By the Treaty of Verona the Order is recognized as a
                             sovereign state.
                      1834  Headquarters of the Order moved to the Palazzo di Malta in
                             Rome (Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem).
                      1869  The Palazzo di Malta and the Villa Malta receive
                             extraterritorial rights, in this way becoming the only
                             "sovereign" territorial possessions of modern the Order.
               27 Jun 1961  Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem,
                             of Rhodes, and of Malta. Constitutional Chartered.
               11 Jan 1969  Autonomy granted to the Order resident in Rome by Italy.
               24 Aug 1994  Permanent observer status at the United Nations.
 
  • GRAND MASTERS of the KNIGHTS of St. JOHN
  • full style of the Grand masters:
    (a) to 1798: Dei Gratia Sacrae Domus Hospitalis Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani et militaris Ordinis Sancti Sepulchri Dominici Magister humilis pauperumque Iesu Christi custos (the phrase et militaris Ordinis Sancti Sepulchri Dominici ceases to be effective 04 Nov 1497, but is not deleted) ("by the Grace of God, Grand Master of the Sacred Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem and of the military Order of the Holy Sepulcher, humble guardian of the poor of Jesus Christ");
    (b) 10 Dec 1798 - 24 Mar 1801: Velikiy Magistr Ordena Svyatogo Ioanna Ierusalimskogo ("Grand master of the Holy Order of St. John of Jerusalem");
    (c) from 1803: Gran Maestro ("Grand master"); in common official use to 1805: Principe e Gran Maestro ("Prince and Grand master"); Long form: "His Most Eminent Highness, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, Most Humble Guardian of the Poor of Jesus Christ."
  • Jerusalem Era 1113-1142
  • Gerard Sasso (Procurator of Hospitals)......................Feb 1113 - 03 Sep 1120
  • Raymond du Puy de Provence (Master of the Order)................1120 - 1159
  • Krak des Chevaliers Era 1142-1271
  • The first half of the century has been described as Krak des Chevaliers' "golden age". At its peak, Krak des Chevaliers (a castle in the west of Syria and north of Lebanon) housed a garrison of around 2,000. Such a large garrison allowed the Hospitallers to extract tribute from a wide area. From the 1250s the fortunes of the Knights Hospitaller took a turn for the worse on 08th April 1271, Krak des Chevaliers was captured by the Mamluk Sultan Baibars after a siege lasting 36 days, and then purportedly only by way of a forged letter claiming to be from the Hospitallers' Grand Master that caused the Knights to surrender.
  • Auger de Balben [or Auger, dit de Balben].......................1159 - 1162
  • Arnaud de Comps.................................................1162 - 1163
  • Gilbert d'Aissailly..................................bf. 19 Jan 1163 - 1170
  • Gaston de Murols................................................1170 - 1172
  • Gérard Joubert de Syrie.........................................1172 - Oct 1177
  • Roger I des Moulins.............................................1177 - 01 May 1187
  • Borrell (Provisor et custos)...........................................1188
  • Ermengard d'Asp.................................................1188 - 1190
  • Garnier de Naplous [Nablus].....................................1190 - af. Jun 1192
  • Geoffroy I de Donjon de Duisson.................................1192 - 1202
  • Alfonso, infante de Portugal....................................1203 - 1206
  • Geoffroy II Le Rat..............................................1206 - af.22 May 1207
  • Pierre Guérin de Montaigu (1st time)....................bf. Oct 1207 - af.11 Nov 1227
  • Bertrand I de Thessy [Texis].........................bf. 01 Mar 1228 - 1231
  • Pierre Guérin de Montaigu (2nd time).................bf. 01 May 1231 - af. May 1236
  • Bertrand II de Comps.................................bf. 20 Sep 1236 - 1239/1240
  • Pierre I de Vieille-Brioude [Vielle-Bride]......................1240 - 17 Sep 1242
  • Guillaume I de Chateuneuf.......................................1242 - af.24 Jun 1258
  • Hughes de Revel (Grand Master of the Order 1267).....bf. 09 Oct 1258 - 01 Apr 1277
    • St. John commanders at Kos
    • The island was conquered by the Venetians, who then sold it to the Knights Hospitaller of Rhodes (the Knights of St John) in 1215. Later the Knights faced the threat of a Turkish invasion and abandoned the island to the Ottoman Empire in 1523.
    • unknown rulers 1215-1338
    • Dragonetto di Gaudiosa.....................................1338 - 1344
    • Bertrando di Canyesio......................................1346 - 1353
    • unknown ruler 1353-1358
    • Raimondo Berenger..........................................1358 - ?
    • Bertrin de Gayac............................................. ? - 1381
    • Ruggiero di Lupoalto.......................................1381 - 1385
    • Hesso Schlegelholtz........................................1386 - 1412
    • Luc de Valines....................................................1413
    • Hermann von Aue............................................1414 - 1415
    • unknown ruler 1415-1421
    • Pierre de Baume............................................1421 - ?
    • Gisberto di Miraljes..............................................1428
    • Ruggiero di Lubant.........................................1428 - 1433
    • Fantino Quarini............................................1433 - 1453
    • Jean de Fay................................................1453 - 1454
    • Jean de Chateauneuf........................................1454 - 1457
    • Pierre de Brissons.........................................1458 - ?
    • Adimar Dupuy...............................................1464 - 1466
    • Jacques de la Geltru................................after 1466 and in 1479
    • Edoardo di Carmadino.......................................1471 - 1495
    • Jean Dadeu.................................................1495 - 1501
    • Costanzo Operti............................................1501 - 1503
    • Bernardino Piossasco di Airasca............................1503 - 1505
    • Berengar von Monsaberg.....................................1505 - 1507
    • Antonio di San Martino.....................................1507 - 1510
    • Guiotto Castellana [Ragusa]................................1510 - 1513
    • Francesco Sans.............................................1513 - 1515
    • Jean Parissot de la Valette (GM K. St John 1557-1568)......1515 - 1516
    • Jacques Gibert.............................................1516 - 1519
    • Prejan de Bidoux...........................................1519 - 1522
    • Pierino da Ponte (GM K. St John 1534-1535)........................1522
  • Acre (Akko) Era 1271-1291
  • Nicolas I de Lorgne..................................bf. 04 Aug 1277 - 12 Mar 1284
  • Jean I de Villiers..............................................1284 - 20 Oct 1293
  • When the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land fell in 1291, the Order settled first in Cyprus and then, in 1310, led by Grand Master Fra’ Foulques de Villaret, on the island of Rhodes. From there, defense of the Christian world required the organization of a naval force; so the Order built a powerful fleet and sailed the eastern Mediterranean, fighting many famous battles for the sake of Christendom, including Crusades in Syria and Egypt.
  • Cyprus Era 1291-1307
  • Odon de Pins.........................................bf. 30 Sep 1294 - 17 Mar 1296
  • Guillaume II de Villaret.................................26 Mar 1296 - 1305
  • Rhodes Era 1309-1522
  • Foulques [Fulk] de Villaret (1st time)......................bf. 1305 - Sep 1317
    • Gérard de Pins (Lieutenant).........................18 Sep 1317 - 1319
    • Maurice de Pagnac (in dissidence)..........................1317 - 1319
  • Foulques [Fulk] de Villaret (2nd time)..........................1319 - 13 Jun 1319
  • Hélion de Villeneuve.....................................18 Jun 1319 - May 1346
  • Dieudonne de Gozon (until 28 Jun 1346, Lieutenant)..........May 1346 - 03 Dec 1353
  • Pierre II de Corneillan..................................08 Dec 1353 - 24 Aug 1355
  • Rogier II DesPins...........................................Aug 1355 - 28 May 1365
  • Ramon II Berengar [Raymond Bérenger].....................01 Jun 1365 - 16 Feb 1374
  • Robert de Juilly (or de Juliac).............................Feb 1374 - 27 Jul 1377
  • Juan Fernando de Erdia [Juan Fernández de Heredia].......24 Oct 1377 - 24 Mar 1396
  • Strakonice, a town in southern Czech Republic, situated about 65 miles (105 km.) south-southwest of Prague and about 24 miles (38 km.) northeast of the German frontier. It is noted today for it's very well-preserved castle and other early buildings. One might also mention in passing that this is the general region which created the lager beers which have formed much of the basis for modern American beers - the city of Ceské Budejovice (Budweis) is just 35 miles (55 km.) to the southeast. Bavor IV donated the castle and environs to the Order of St. John Hospitallers (the Knights of Malta) at some point between 1382 and c. 1410. The Order, which had maintained a chapter house in the town since 1234, held the locale until it's own dissolution at the end of the 18th century (c. 1400-1798). Strakonice was later took by Bohemia (Austria-Hungary) in 1798.
  • Philibert de Naillac.....................................06 May 1396 - 1421
    • Lieutenant; appointed by Pope in Rome.
    • Riccardo Caracciolo Rossi dei conti di Gerace..........Apr 1383 - 18 May 1395
    • Bartolomeo Carafa della Spina..............................1395 - 25 Apr 1405
    • Nicola Orsini di Campodifiore..............................1405 - 1409
  • Antonio I di Fluviano de Riviere.........................01 Jul 1421 - 26 Oct 1437
  • Jean II Bonpar de Lastic.................................06 Nov 1437 - 19 May 1454
  • Jacques de Milly (or Jobert de Milly)....................01 Jun 1454 - 17 Aug 1461
  • Pedro Ramon Zacosta [Pietro Raimondo Zacosta]............24 Aug 1461 - 21 Feb 1467
  • Gianbattista Orsini......................................28 Feb 1467 - 08 Jun 1476
  • Full name: Giovanni Battista Orsini dei conti di Gravina.
  • Pierre III d'Aubusson....................................17 Jun 1476 - 03 Jul 1503
  • Emeric de Amboise [Aimery d'Amboise, dit Chaumont].......10 Jul 1503 - 13 Nov 1512
  • Guy de Blanchefort.......................................22 Nov 1512 - 24 Nov 1513
  • Fabrizio Del Carretto dei marchesi del Finale............15 Dec 1513 - 10 Jan 1521
  • Malta Era 1530-1798
  • Philippe de Villiers de l'Isle Adam......................22 Jan 1521 - 22 Aug 1534
  • After six months of siege and fierce combat against the fleet and army of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, the Knights were forced to surrender in 1523 and left Rhodes with military honours. The Order remained without a territory of its own until 1530, when Grand Master Fra’ Philippe de Villiers de l’Isle Adam took possession of the island of Malta, granted to the Order by Emperor Charles V with the approval of Pope Clement VII.
  • Peter IV del Ponte.......................................26 Aug 1534 - 12 Nov 1535
  • Full name: Pietro Del Ponte, dei signori di Lambriase e Casal Gros. He took office on 10 Nov 1534.
  • Didier de Sainte-Jaille, dit Tholon......................22 Nov 1535 - 26 Sep 1536
  • Juan III de Omedes y Coscón..............................20 Oct 1536 - 06 Sep 1553
  • The Order lost many of its European holdings following the rise of Protestantism and French Egalitarianism, but survived on Malta. The property of the English branch was confiscated in 1540.
  • Claude de la Sangle......................................11 Sep 1553 - 17 Aug 1557
  • Jean IV Parisot de la Valette............................21 Aug 1557 - 21 Aug 1568
  • In 1565 the Knights, led by Grand Master Fra’ Jean de la Vallette (after whom the capital of Malta, Valletta, was named), defended the island for more than three months during the Great Siege by the Turks. The fleet of the Order, then one of the most powerful in the Mediterranean, contributed to the ultimate destruction of the Ottoman naval power in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.
  • Pietro V Guidalotti Ciocchi del Monte....................23 Aug 1568 - 26 Jan 1572
  • Jean V L'Eveque de la Cassiere...........................27 Jan 1572 - 21 Dec 1581
    • Maturin de Lescaut, dit Romegas (lieutenant in dissidence).1581 - 04 Nov 1581
  • Hugh II Loubeaux-Verdalle................................12 Jan 1582 - 04 May 1595
  • Full name: Hugues de Loubenx des seigneurs de Loubenx et de Verdalle.
  • Martin I Garcias [Martín Garcés (Garzez)]................08 May 1595 - 07 Feb 1601
  • Aloysius de Wignacourt [Alof de Wignacourt]..............10 Feb 1601 - 14 Sep 1622
  • Luís I Mendes de Vasconcellos [Vasconcelhos].............17 Sep 1622 - 07 Mar 1623
  • Antonio II de Paula (took office 20 Mar 1623)............10 Mar 1623 - 07 Jun 1636
  • Juan Pablo Lascaris de Castellar.........................16 Jun 1636 - 14 Aug 1657
  • Full name: Giovanni Paolo di Giannetto Lascaris di Castellar, de conti di Ventimiglia.
  • Martín II de Redín y Cruzat Redín Esparza................17 Aug 1657 - 06 Feb 1660
  • Annete de Clermont de Chattegesson.......................09 Feb 1660 - 02 Jun 1660
  • Full name: Annet de Clermont-Chatte des seigneurs de Geyssans.
  • Rafael [Raphael] Cotoner i d'Olesa Santmartí i Camfulles.05 Jun 1660 - 20 Oct 1663
  • Nicolas II Cotoner.......................................23 Oct 1663 - 29 Apr 1680
  • Full name: Nicolau Cotoner i d'Olesa Santmartí i Camfulles.
  • The Knights of Malta had a strong presence within the Imperial Russian Navy and the pre-revolutionary French Navy. When De Poincy was appointed governor of the French colony on St. Kitts in 1639 he was a prominent Knight of St. John and dressed his retinue with the emblems of the Order. In 1651, the Knights bought from the Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique the islands of Sainte-Christophe, Saint Martin (1651-1665) and Saint Barthélemy (1653-1667). The Order's presence in the Caribbean was eclipsed with De Poincy's death in 1660. He had also bought the island of Saint Croix (1651-1665) as his personal estate and deeded it to the Knights of St. John. In 1665, the order sold their Caribbean possessions to the French West India Company, ending the Order's presence in that region. Tortuga, an island lying off the north coast of Haiti was a major pirate base for nearly a century (1629-1725). This island was more-or-less the center of operations for the loose-knit buccaneer network known as the "Brethren of the Coast", which reached the zenith of its power under Henry Morgan, 1667-1672. Tortuga came nominally to the Knights of St. John from 1653 to 1667 and was later took by France.
  • Gregorio Carafa dei principi della Roccella..............02 May 1680 - 20 Jul 1690
  • Pierre-Adrien de Wignacourt..............................27 Jul 1690 - 04 Feb 1697
  • Ramon III Perellós i de Rocafull.........................05 Feb 1697 - 10 Jan 1720
  • Full name: Ramon Rabassa de Perellós i de Rocafull Híjar i Vives de Boíl, dels senyors de Benetússer i Barons de Dosaigües.
  • Marc'Antonio Chigi Zondadari dei marchesi di San Quirico.14 Jan 1720 - 16 Jun 1722
  • António Manuel de Vilhena , dos condes de Vila Flor......19 Jun 1722 - 12 Dec 1736
  • Raymond III Despugh......................................16 Dec 1736 - 15 Jan 1741
  • Full name: Ramon Despuig y Martínez de Marcilla de los condes de Montealegre [Ramon Despuig i Martínez de Marcilla Rocabertí de Dameto i Ram de Montoro, dels comtes de Montenegro i Montoro].
  • Manuel I Pinto da Fonseca................................18 Jan 1741 - 24 Jan 1773
  • Francisco Ximenez De Tejada..............................28 Jan 1773 - 09 Nov 1775
  • Full name: Francisco Ximénez de Tejada de los señores de Sobrarbe y condes de Aragón [Francisco Antonio Ximénez de Tejada y Eslava López de Mirafuentes y Vicuña Zozaya, de los señores de Sobrarbe y condes de Aragón].
  • Emmanuel II de Rohan-Polduc..............................12 Nov 1775 - 13 Jul 1797
  • Full name: François-Marie-des-Neiges-Emmanuel de Rohan, comte du Polduc, seigneur de Henleix.
  • The decree of the French National Assembly Abolishing the Feudal System (1789) abolished the Order in France, as well as the dues which have been substituted for them, under whatever denomination they are known or collected (even when compounded for), possessed by secular or regular congregations, by holders of benefices, members of corporations (including the Order of Malta and other religious and military orders), as well as those devoted to the maintenance of churches, those impropriated to lay persons and those substituted for the portion congrue, are abolished [The Decree Abolishing the Feudal System, August 11, 1789, J.H. Robinson, ed., Readings in European History 2 vols. (Boston: Ginn, 1906), 2: 404-409]. The French Revolutionary Government seized the assets and properties of the Order in France in 1792.
  • Ferdinand Joseph Freiherr von Hompesch zu Bollheim.......17 Jul 1797 - 26 Aug 1798
  • Full name: Ferdinand Joseph Hermann Freiherr von Hompesch zu Bollheim. He abandons Malta on 22 Jun 1798, abdicates on 06 Jul 1799. In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte occupied the island for its strategic value during his Egyptian campaign. Because of the Order’s rule prohibiting them to raise weapons against other Christians, the knights were forced to leave Malta. Although the sovereign rights of the Order in the island of Malta had been reaffirmed by the Treaty of Amiens (1802), the Order was unable to return to Malta. In 1577, the German Bailiwick of Brandenburg became Lutheran, but continued to pay its financial contribution to the Order until the branch was turned into a merit Order by the King of Prussia in 1812. The "Johanniter Orden" was restored as a Prussian Order of Knights Hospitaller in 1852.
  • Note: There is really little to be said about Hompesch except that he was undoubtedly the worst Grand Master the Order ever had. The situation of Malta vis-à-vis events in Europe had become steadily more ominous over the previous decade (Rohan had ordered the building of Fort Tigné as yet another part of the protective ring around Valletta) and it was certain that Revolutionary France had its eye on the island. In addition a rather small number of French Knights clearly sympathized with the new regime and worked against the interests of the Order (it should be noted that the vast majority, however, were the most valiant defenders of the Island – in the final siege the Spanish Knights actually remained neutral because Spain was then allied to France). Hompesch, elected because of his diplomatic skills, absolutely refused to believe in a French attack and made no preparations to meet it (even though he was given very reliable reports that one was coming – he preferred to believe it was sailing straight to Egypt). With a motivated force of defenders, ample supplies and a strategy of holding the impregnable city of Valletta while leaving the rest of the island to the French invaders, Napoleon’s forces would have found themselves in severe trouble. The fortifications of Valletta were surely the most formidable of Europe – fully equipped with some 1400 cannon they would have been extremely difficult for the French army to overwhelm. In addition, Malta only had to hold out for a relatively short time because the British fleet under Admiral Nelson was actively hunting for Napoleon’s expeditionary force. The French forces had appeared off Malta on 09 June 1798, began landing on the 10th and, on the 12th, after Hompesch’s inaction insured its success, accepted the surrender of the Grand Master. Had Valletta held out just a few weeks the situation would have been entirely different: Napoleon was under orders not to risk the Egyptian Expedition if Malta resisted, and the possibility of his fleet being attacked by the British was an ever present danger. In fact, less than two months later, on 01st August, Nelson inflicted a crushing defeat on the French at the Battle of the Nile, sinking or capturing all but two of the French warships (including the huge French 100, L’Orient, which blew up taking all the great treasures Napoleon plundered from the Order to the bottom of Aboukir Bay). Had Nelson been able to do this earlier, while Napoleon was tied down attempting to take Valletta, he would have marooned Napoleon and his troops, thus changing European history. In any case, the French garrison on Malta did not last very long: the Maltese revolted in September 1799 and with British help the French surrendered a year later. The island remained a British possession until Malta became independent on 21 September 1964 (it became a republic on 13 December 1974).
  • Thomas di Contara......................................................1798 d. 1805
 
ORDER OF MALTA Coinage: c. 1600 - 1798
Currency: Scudo = 12 tari = 240 grani; Zecchino = 100 tari.
Picciolo (Diniere) and 3 Piccioli copper coins were also produced from c.1600-1657.
 

KM#A256 / Davenport 1600 30 Tari (2½ Scudo). Year: 1757. Weight: 28.89g. Metal: Silver. Diameter: 42.50 mm. Edge: Decorated. Alignment: Coin. Mint: N/A. Obverse: "NON SVRREXIT MAIOR" (Maltese Motto: "Non Greater has Arisen!") around center figure. Saint John the Baptist standing and holding a banner, Paschal Lamb at his feet in the center. Value "T. XXX" at the bottom. Reverse: Sovereign crowned quartered coat-of-arms within foliage in the center. "F . EMMANVEL PINTO . M . M . H . S . S . 1757" written around coat-of-arms. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: 1756-1759. Grand Master: Father Manuel I Pinto da Fonseca (1741-1773).

Note: Varieties exits with complete cross on the top of the crown, different sizes of legends written, off-centered from various sides and the variations in the number, thickness and sizes of grasses at the feet and around Saint John the Baptist.

Decorated edge of the above coin.
Dom Frei Manuel Pinto da Fonseca was a Knight of the Langue of Portugal. He was a Portuguese Nobleman, the son of Miguel Álvaro Pinto da Fonseca, Alcaide-Mór de Ranhados. His mother was Ana Pinto Teixeira. On 25 May 1743 he gave his name to the then town of Qormi giving it the status of a city (Città Pinto). In 1749, one of his bodyguards, Cassar, refused to join a plot led by Pasha Mustafa to stage a Muslim slave revolt. This refusal led to the exposure and suppression of the revolt. This event was then celebrated on every anniversary, 29 June. Pinto created several new noble titles which was greatly resented by some of the older nobles of Malta and gained a reputation for imposing heavy taxes. He expelled the Jesuits from Malta. He completed the Auberge de Castille, one of the most important buildings in the capital city, Valletta, which had been started in 1574 and his bust and arms adorn its façade. Today this building houses the Office of the Prime Minister. During his reign, in 1764, Pinto da Fonseca negotiated with King Frederick II ("Frederick the Great") of Prussia a reunification of the Protestant Bailiwick of Brandenburg with the Order of Malta, but as Pope Clement XIII would not allow admission into a Roman Catholic organization of men he viewed as heretics and the agreement came to naught. He made substantial donations to the Conventual Church, and of the most notable mementos worth mentioning are two large and heavy bells cast by the Master Founder of the Order of St. John, Aloisio Bouchut in 1747 and 1748 respectively which still hang in the belfries of the Co-Cathedral. Pinto built several storehouses on the Marina which still bear his name. When he died his body was laid to rest in a monument with a mosaic portrayal of him. This is a major tourist attraction in Malta. He was a friend of Cagliostro. His coat of arms portrays five red crescents symbolizing that he once defeated five Ottoman Turks single-handedly. The city of Qormi adopted this as its own coat of arms and flag. Actually, those are the Arms of the Pinto family with the enamels exchanged. He had an illegitimate son named José António Pinto da Fonseca e Vilhena by Rosenda Paulichi (daughter of Alberigo Paulichi and Patronilla Ramuzetta). His son married his first cousin Maria Inácia Pinto da Fonseca de Sousa Teixeira e Vilhena [illegitimate daughter of Francisco Vaz Pinto (his father's brother) by Clara Cerqueira].
 

KM#342 / RS.193/34 Scudo (12 Tari). Year: 1796. Weight: 11.57g. Metal: Silver. Diameter: 33.00 mm. Edge: Reeded. Alignment: Coin. Mint: N/A. Obverse: Date at the top split by crowned arms of the Order flanked by branches. "S. J." written at the bottom. Reverse: Bust of Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc as Grand master of the Knights of Malta facing right. "F. EMMANUEL DE ROHAN M. M." written around him clockwise. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year Type. Grand Master: Father Emmanuel de Rohan (1775 to 1797).

My Coin was part of ex-jewelry, therefore contains four join marks in X position. Two of such marks can be as seen in edge image.
Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc (April 18, 1725 - July 14, 1797 Valletta, Malta) was a member of the wealthy and influential Rohan family of France and Grand Master of the Knights of Malta from 1775 to 1797. Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc succeeded the unpopular Grand Master Francisco Ximenes de Texada. During his rule Fort Tigne was built and St. Lucian's Tower and battery were upgraded, and as result of this upgrading the tower was renamed Fort Rohan. Rohan-Polduc also authored the Code de Rohan, a constitutional law book published in two volumes titled Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes of Malta in 1782. Grand Master Rohan-Polduc elavated the village of Żebbuġ to the status of city, naming it Cittàde Rohan. To commemorate this event the people of Żebbuġ constructed an archway.
 

KM#345.3 / Davenport 1611B 30 Tari (2½ Scudo). Year: 1798. Weight: 29.69g. Metal: Silver. Diameter: 40.50 mm. Edge: Decorated. Alignment: Medal. Mint: Malta. Obverse: Date split at the top by crowned double-headed eagle with cross in each beak and large quartered Maltese shield at chest in the center. "HOSPITAL. ET S. SEP. HIER. 17 + 98" written clockwise around the Coat of Arms. Value "T. 30" written on the head of the eagles. Reverse: Armored bust of Ferdinand von Hompesch as Grand master of the Knights of Malta facing left. Lion head on shoulder drapery. "F. FERDINANDVS HOMPESCH M. M." written clockwise around him. Dot at the bottom. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type. Grand Master: Father Ferdinand Joseph Freiherr von Hompesch zu Bollheim (1797-1798).

Note: It is believed that this issue was struck during French occupation of Malta from 6th to 11th June 1798.

Decorated edge of the above coin.
Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim (November 9, 1744 – May 12, 1805) was the 71st Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta, the first German to be elected to the office. Hompesch was born in the village of Bolheim, now part of Zülpich in the Eifel region. He received the baptismal names Ferdinand Joseph Antoine Herman Louis. He joined the Order of Saint John at a young age, serving as a page to the Grand Master Manuel Pinto da Fonseca. He spent twenty-five years as the order's ambassador at the court of Vienna before being made Grand Bailiff of Brandenburg. On July 17, 1797 Hompesch was elected Grand Master. As Grand Master in Malta he raised the towns of Zabbar, Zejtun and Siggiewi to the status of cities.

In 1798 Hompesch was warned that the French fleet which was sailing to Egypt intended to attack Malta as well. Hompesch disregarded the warning and took no action to reinforce the island's defences. On June 6, 1798, the advance squadron of the French fleet reached Malta. One ship was permitted to enter the harbour for repairs. On June 9, the main fleet arrived. The French commander Napoléon Bonaparte had a force of 29,000 men against Hompesch's 7,000. Bonaparte demanded free entrance to the harbour for the entire fleet with the excuse to get water provisions. Hompesch replied that only two ships at a time could do so. Napoleon saw it as a provocation and ordered the invasion of the Maltese Islands.

On June 10 the French fleet began disembarking. The French forces were supported by a local insurrection of Maltese, many of whom wished to get rid of the Knights. The rules of the Order prohibited fighting against Christians and many of the French members of the order did not want to fight against the French forces. Hompesch capitulated on June 11. The following day a treaty was signed by which the order handed over sovereignty of the island of Malta to the French Republic. In return the French Republic agreed to "employ all its credit at the congress of Rastadt to procure a principality for the Grand Master, equivalent to the one he gives up". Hompesch was also given an annual pension. Hompesch left Malta for Trieste on 18 June 1798. He resigned as Grand Master on July 6, 1799. In 1804 he went to Montpellier in France where he died one year later of asthma. He is buried in the Church of Sainte Eulalie in Montpellier.

 
Siege of Malta 1798-1800: On 19 May 1798, a French fleet sailed from Toulon, escorting an expeditionary force of over 30,000 men under General Napoleon Bonaparte. The force was destined for Egypt, Bonaparte seeking to expand French influence in Asia and force Britain to make peace in the French Revolutionary Wars, which had begun in 1792. Sailing southeast, the convoy collected additional transports from Italian ports and at 05:30 on 9 June arrived off Valletta, the heavily fortified port-city on the island of Malta. Grand Master Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim, refused Bonaparte's demand that his entire convoy be allowed to enter Valletta and take on supplies, insisting that Malta's neutrality meant that only two ships could enter at a time. On receiving this reply, Bonaparte immediately ordered his fleet to bombard Valletta and on 11 June General Louis Baraguey d'Hilliers directed an amphibious operation in which several thousand soldiers landed at seven strategic sites around the island. The French Knights deserted the order, and the remaining Knights failed to mount a meaningful resistance. Approximately 2,000 native Maltese militia resisted for 24 hours, retreating to Valletta once the city of Mdina fell to General Claude-Henri Belgrand de Vaubois. Although Valletta was strong enough to hold out against a lengthy siege, Bonaparte negotiated a surrender with Hompesch, who agreed to turn Malta and all of its resources over to the French in exchange for estates and pensions in France for himself and his knights. Bonaparte then established a French garrison on the islands, leaving 4,000 men under Vaubois while he and the rest of the expeditionary force sailed eastwards for Alexandria on 19 June. On 02 September, this anger erupted in a popular uprising during an auction of church property, and within days thousands of Maltese irregulars had driven the French garrison into Valletta. Valletta was surrounded by approximately 10,000 irregular Maltese soldiers led by Emmanuel Vitale and Canon Saverio Caruana. The Maltese were armed with 23 cannon and a small squadron of coastal gunboats. Although there was intermittent skirmishing between the garrison and the Maltese, the fortress was too strong for the irregulars to assault. Late in September, a British convoy consisting of 13 battered ships under Captain Sir James Saumarez appeared off the island. In mid-September, a squadron of Portuguese ships also had arrived at the island. They included the Príncipe Real, Rainha de Portugal, São Sebastião and Afonso de Albuquerque, and the British ship HMS Lion, all under the command of Tomás Xavier Teles de Castro da Gama, Marquess of Niza. This force had been sent from the Tagus to augment Nelson's fleet, and after a brief stay off Malta continued to Alexandria. The Portuguese ships returned to the blockade of the island in October. Late in September, a British convoy consisting of 13 battered ships under Captain Sir James Saumarez appeared off the island. Survivors of the Battle of the Nile, they were in urgent need of repair and unable to directly assist in the siege. On 12 October, the British ships of the line HMS Alexander under Captain Alexander Ball, HMS Culloden under Captain Thomas Troubridge and HMS Colossus under Captain George Murray joined Niza's ships off Malta, marking the formal start of the blockade. On 24 October, after a ten day passage from Naples, Nelson joined the blockade squadron in HMS Vanguard accompanied by HMS Minotaur. On 28 October, Ball successful completed negotiations with the French garrison on the small island of Gozo, the 217 French soldiers there agreeing to surrender without a fight and transferring the island. 1799 was a frustrating year for the British and Maltese forces deployed against Malta, as efforts to secure sufficient forces to prosecute the siege were repeatedly denied. The British blockade continued to prevent French efforts to resupply Valletta during the early summer of 1800, and by August the situation was desperate: no horses or pack animals, dogs, cats, fowls or rabbits still lived within the city, the cisterns had been emptied and even firewood was in short supply. On 03 September, with his men dying of starvation and disease at the rate of more than 100 a day, Vaubois called a council of his officers at which they unanimously decided to surrender. The next day, envoys were sent to the British and in the afternoon General Pigot and Captain Martin signed the agreed terms with Vaubois and Villeneuve. The Maltese were excluded from negotiations entirely, although their commander, Alexander Ball, subsequently became the first Governor of Malta. The terms of the surrender were absolute: the island, its dependencies, fortifications and military supplies and ships were all turned over to British control. The capture of Malta returned control of the central Mediterranean to Britain and was an important step in the invasion and liberation of Egypt from French rule in 1801. An essential condition of the Treaty of Amiens in the same year, which brought an end to the French Revolutionary War, was that Malta be evacuated by the British. Russian Tsar Alexander I had a long standing claim to the island as titular head of the Knights of St. John, and demanded that it was turned over to Russian control before agreeing any alliance with Britain. Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger flatly refused, and the Napoleonic Wars with France began soon afterwards, in part due to the failure of Britain to comply with this tenet of the treaty. The island subsequently remained in British hands until its independence in 1964.
 
 
  • First Roman Era 1798-1826
  • Paul Romanov (Emperor Paval I Petrovich of Russia).......10 Sep 1798 - 23/24 Mar 1801
  • to 07 Nov 1798 as Protector of the Order and acting Grand Master.
  • Prince Nikolay Ivanovich Graf Saltykov (acting)..........24 Mar 1801 - 09 Feb 1803
  • Giuseppe Caracciolo dei marchesi di Sant'Eramo (opposition).....1802 - 09 Feb 1803
  • He was appointed by the Pope.
  • Giovanni Battista Tommasi de Cortona.....................09 Feb 1803 - 13 Jun 1805
    • Lieutenant-Generals as acting Grand Masters
    • Innico-Maria Guevara Svardo.........................29 Nov 1805 - 25 Apr 1814
    • He was confirmed on 05 Dec 1805.
    • Giuseppe Caracciolo (2nd time in opposition)........17 Jun 1805 - 10 Feb 1809
    • Andre DiGiovanni e Centelles........................26 Apr 1814 - 10 Jun 1821
    • He was confirmed on 25 Jun 1814.
    • Ferrara Era 1826-1834; Lieutenant-General as acting Grand Masters
    • Antoine Busca Arconati Visconti.....................11 Jun 1821 - 19 May 1834
  • Second Roman Era 1834-date; Lieutenant-Generals as acting Grand Masters till 1879
  • After having temporarily resided in Messina, Catania and Ferrara, in 1834 the Order settled definitively in Rome, where it owns, with extraterritorial status, the Magistral Palace in Via Condotti 68 and the Magistral Villa on the Aventine Hill.
    • Conte Carlos Candida................................23 May 1834 - 12 Jul 1845
    • Philippe Graf von Colloredo-Mels und -Waldsee.......15 Sep 1845 - 09 Oct 1864
    • He was confirmed on 30 Sep 1845.
    • Alessandro [Alexandre] Ponsian Borgia...............26 Feb 1865 - 13 Jan 1872
    • Giovanni Battista Ceschi a Santa Croce..............14 Feb 1872 - 28 Mar 1879
    • Full name: Baron Giovanni Battista Ceschi a Santa Croce, conte di Cavedine.
  • Gianbattista Ceschi (continued)..........................28 Mar 1879 - 24 Jan 1905
  • Galeazzo Graf von Thun und Hohenstein....................06 Mar 1905 - 26 Mar 1931
    • Pio Franchi de' Cavalieri (acting & Lt. Gen.).......26 Mar 1931 - 30 May 1931
  • Ludovico Chigi...........................................30 May 1931 - 14 Nov 1951
  • Full name: Ludovico Chigi Della Rovere Albani, principe di Farnese, di Campagnano e di Soriano. Large-scale hospitaller and charitable activities were carried out including WWII during his reign.
    • Antonio Hercolani Simonetta (acting & Lt. Gen.).....14 Nov 1951 - 25 Apr 1955
    • Full name: Conte Palatino Don Antonio Hercolani Fava Simonetti.
    • Ernesto Paternò Castello (acting & Lt. Gen.)........25 Apr 1955 - 11 May 1962
    • Full name: Ernesto Vittorio Maria Vincenzo Luigi Paternò-Castello dei duchi di Càrcaci.
  • Angelo de Mohana [Mojana] dei signori di Cologna.........11 May 1962 - 17 Jan 1988
    • Giancarlo Pullavicini (acting & Lt. Gen.)...........17 Jan 1988 - 11 Apr 1988
  • Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie..........................11 Apr 1988 - 07 Feb 2008
  • In 1998 due to an agreement made with the Maltese Government, the Order has returned to Malta. It once again has property in Malta, but its headquarters are still in Rome. This agreement grants the Order the exclusive use of Fort St Angelo in the town of Birgu, Malta. This agreement has a duration of 99 years.
    • Giacomo Dalla Torre (acting & Lt. Gen.).............07 Feb 2008 - 11 Mar 2008
    • Full name: Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, conte di Sanguinetto.
  • Robert Matthew Festing...................................11 Mar 2008 - date
 
SOVEREIGN ORDER - Medallic Coinage: 1961-date.
Currency: Scudo = 12 tari = 240 grani; Zecchino = 100 tari.
No coins were issued by the Order from 1799-1960. The symbolic coins issued by the Order since 1961 are intended to continue the last independent coinage of the Order on Malta in 1798. These coins are mostly issued in proof condition. They have a theoretical fixed exchange value with the Italian Lira. Sales of these coinage maintain the Order's hospitals, clinics and leprosariums around the world.
 

X#14 2 Scvdi. Year: 1965. Weight: 24.04g. Metal: 0.9860 Silver. Diameter: 40.00 mm. Edge: Reeded. Alignment: Coin. Mint: N/A. Obverse: "F. ANGELVS DE MOJANA M.M.H.H" written around his portrait in center with date at the bottom. Designer initials: MONASSI below bust. Reverse: "NON SVRREXIT MAIOR" (Maltese Motto: "Non Greater has Arisen!") written around. Saint John the Baptist standing and holding a banner, Paschal Lamb at his feet in the center. Value at the bottom. Designer initials: MONASSI near "MAIOR". Mintage: 3,000. Minted Years: 1965 and 1966. Grand Master: Father Angelo de Mohana [Mojana] dei signori di Cologna (1962-1988).

X#85 10 Grani. Year: ND (1981). Weight: 9.73g. Metal: Bronze. Diameter: 32.50 mm. Edge: Reeded. Alignment: Coin. Mint: N/A. Obverse: "INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF DISABLED PERSONS 1981" written at the top. Aerial view of Buildings with SMOM symbol and value at the bottom. Reverse: "FR. ANGELVS DE MOJANA M.M.H.H." written around his portrait in center. Designer initials: VEROI at the bottom. Mintage: 3,000. Minted Years: One year type. Grand Master: Father Angelo de Mohana [Mojana] dei signori di Cologna (1962-1988).
 
 
ORDER OF ST. JOHN OF JERUSALEM - Medallic Coinage ND (1965)
Currency: Zecchino = 100 tari.
These four medallic coins were produce for celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Great Siege against Turk naval force. "ERG" and "f" initials are on the reverse side of these coins.
 

X#401 1 Tari. Year: ND (1965). Weight: 2.94g. Metal: Brass. Diameter: 20.00 mm. Edge: Plain. Alignment: Coin. Mint: Franklin Mint. Obverse: "QUADR CENTENNIAL OF THE GREAT SIEGE OF MALTA" written around. SMOM symbol in the center with value and dates 1565-1965. Reverse: "SOVEREIGN ORDER OF SAINT JOHN OF JERUSALEM" written around Crowned arms in the center with Roman year MXLVIII (1048 CE). Mintage: 3,315. Minted Years: One year type.

X#402 25 Tari. Year: ND (1965). Weight: 11.11g. Metal: Franklinium. Diameter: 25.00 mm. Edge: Reeded. Alignment: Coin. Mint: Franklin Mint. Obverse: "QUADR CENTENNIAL OF THE GREAT SIEGE OF MALTA" written around. Malta's map in the center with value and dates 1565-1965. Reverse: "SOVEREIGN ORDER OF SAINT JOHN OF JERUSALEM" written around Crowned arms in the center with Roman year MXLVIII (1048 CE). Mintage: 3,316. Minted Years: One year type.

X#403 50 Tari. Year: ND (1965). Weight: 16.85g. Metal: Franklinium. Diameter: 31.00 mm. Edge: Reeded. Alignment: Coin. Mint: Franklin Mint. Obverse: "QUADR CENTENNIAL OF THE GREAT SIEGE OF MALTA" written around. Battle field in the center with value and dates 1565-1965. Reverse: "SOVEREIGN ORDER OF SAINT JOHN OF JERUSALEM" written around Crowned arms in the center with Roman year MXLVIII (1048 CE). Mintage: 3,379. Minted Years: One year type.

X#404 1 Zecchino. Year: ND (1965). Weight: 22.50g. Metal: Copper-Nickel Silvered. Diameter: 39.00 mm. Edge: Reeded. Alignment: Coin. Mint: Franklin Mint. Obverse: "QUADR CENTENNIAL OF THE GREAT SIEGE OF MALTA" written around. JEAN DE LA VALETTE G.M (Grand Master) portrait facing left in the center with value and dates 1565-1965. Reverse: "SOVEREIGN ORDER OF SAINT JOHN OF JERUSALEM" written around Crowned arms in the center with Roman year MXLVIII (1048 CE). Mintage: 3,315. Minted Years: One year type.

This coin is also produced in Bronze (3 pieces), Brass (3 pieces), Franklinium (3 pieces), 0.925 silver (3 pieces), 0.999 silver (3 pieces) and Plantinum (1 piece).

 
 
HOSPITALLIER ORDER - Fantasy Issues 1999-2005.
Currency: Lira
 
2005: Remembering Pope John Paul II (b. 18 May 1920; d. 02 Apr 2005).
"Ich habe euch gesucht jetzt seid ihrzu mir gekommen. Ich danke euch". Papst Johannes Paul II [translation: "I was looking for you, now you come to me ihrzu. Thank you". Pope John Paul II].
 

1 Lira. Year: 2005. Weight: 7.50g. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Diameter: 24.25 mm. Edge: Plain. Alignment: Medal. Mint: N/A. Obverse: "SOVRANO OSPEDALIERO ORDINE DI MALTA" written at the top. Crowned arms in the center with dare and value at the bottom. Reverse: "IOANNES PAULUS II." around John Paul II facing left. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type.

1 Lira. Year: 2005. Weight: 7.50g. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Diameter: 24.25 mm. Edge: Plain. Alignment: Medal. Mint: N/A. Obverse: "SOVRANO OSPEDALIERO ORDINE DI MALTA" written at the top. Crowned arms in the center with dare and value at the bottom. Reverse: "SOLI DEO GLORIA" at the top. John Paul II standing and facing right. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type. Subject: Gebet an der Klagemauer (prayers at Western Wall).

1 Lira. Year: 2005. Weight: 7.50g. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Diameter: 24.25 mm. Edge: Plain. Alignment: Medal. Mint: N/A. Obverse: "SOVRANO OSPEDALIERO ORDINE DI MALTA" written at the top. Crowned arms in the center with dare and value at the bottom. Reverse: "1978 HABEMUS PAPAM" at the top. Palace with Pope. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type. Subject: Amtsantritt (Appointed).

1 Lira. Year: 2005. Weight: 7.50g. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Diameter: 24.25 mm. Edge: Plain. Alignment: Medal. Mint: N/A. Obverse: "SOVRANO OSPEDALIERO ORDINE DI MALTA" written at the top. Crowned arms in the center with dare and value at the bottom. Reverse: "AD MAIOREM DEL GLORIA" with Pope John Paul II in stairs. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type. Subject: Ankunft des Papstes in Polen (Arrival of Pope in Poland).

1 Lira. Year: 2005. Weight: 7.50g. Metal: Copper-Nickel. Diameter: 24.25 mm. Edge: Plain. Alignment: Medal. Mint: N/A. Obverse: "SOVRANO OSPEDALIERO ORDINE DI MALTA" written at the top. Crowned arms in the center with dare and value at the bottom. Reverse: "EX CATHEDPA PETRI" at the top with SMOM emblem and a person looking down. Mintage: N/A. Minted Years: One year type. Subject: Päpstlich Insignien (Papal Insignia).
 
 
 
 
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