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Dragut's Attack on Gozo of 1551

"A Tale of a Gozitan City"

Chart Competition about the Order of St.John
In 1551, a Turkish fleet under the command of the Turkish General Dragut Reis, was sent by the Turkish Sultan Soleyman to attack Malta. The Turkish fleet with 10,000 soldiers entered the Grand Harbour to attack Fort St. Angelo, which is found at the tip of "Birgu" (a maritime town in one of the natural creeks of the Grand Harbour). However, the Turks did not succeed in winning over this well fortified fort. So Dragut turned his attention to Gozo, Malta's sister island and attacked the Citadel (Gozo's main fortified city). The Citadel of GozoMany of the Gozitan people were killed or taken as slaves. When the Citadel fell, over 5,000 men and women were taken as slaves. This left Gozo heavily depopulated.

Soleyman attacked Malta in 1551 because he was very angry with the Knights for the fact that when he drove the Knights out of Rhodes, he had offered to leave them go peacefully. However, when the Knights settled in Malta, they continued attacking every Turkish ship that happened to come their way. This angered Soleyman a lot since his army had shown mercy in Rhodes. Thus, this was the main cause why Soleyman sent his ships to attack Malta. The consequence or result of this was that Gozo was fortified more, while more forts were constructed around the Grand Harbour. Another important consequence was that since the Turks did not succeed to take Malta, Soleyman's anger was still not satisfied and so he began planning for a much greater attack on Malta, which was to take place fourteen years later during the Great Siege of 1565.

School activities about the Order of St. John

Back in 1997, we (in 1997 we were then still in Grade five) were informed by our teachers that we were going to do a re-enactment of Dragut's attack on Gozo of 1551. This historical re-enactment was to be filmed on video and be called "A Tale of a Gozitan City"

Last December, Mr. Stephen Briffa, our History teacher organised a "chart-competition" about the Order of St. John. He also took us to see an audio-visual show about the Knights of St. John.

Finally, we must also say that during our yearly Summer School, Fra Andrew Bertie, who is the Grandmaster of the Order nowadays (and who is usually in Malta for his Summer holidays), comes to our school to teach us judo and self-defence. Thus, we have the opportunity to talk to him and come to know him personally!