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Fort St.Angelo

Fort St.Elmo
Old painting of Fort St.Angelo (left) and Fort St.Michael (right)The Grand Harbour was very important for the Knights because it was a natural harbour, which was ideal for their fleet. In fact, the Phoenicians had named the island "Maleth", which means heaven: a direct reference to Malta's magnificent harbour. In fact, the Grand Harbour was the best advantage Malta could offer and it was the most important factor that had encouraged the Knights to come to Malta in 1530.

The most important consequence of Dragut's attack on Gozo in 1551, was that after that attack, which heavily depopulated Gozo, the Knights under Grandmaster Claude De La Sengle, strengthened Fort St. Angelo and built another two strong forts around the Grand Harbour in order to protect it better. One of the two new forts built by the Order in the Grand Harbour was Fort St. Elmo, which was built at the tip of "Sceberras" Peninsula, where the future capital city of Malta, Valletta, was to be built by the Knights in 1566 (after the Great Siege of 1565). The other fort wasThen and NowFort St. Michael (which is found at the tip of the maritime town of "Senglea"), which was built near Fort St. Angelo in order to protect two of the natural creeks of the Grand Harbour. Unfortunately, Fort St. Michael was destroyed during the heavy air raids on Valletta during the Second World War. Only its front bastions (massive fortified walls) can be seen nowadays. Apart from these two new forts, Grandmaster Claude De La Sengle also built strong bastions around "Senglea": Obviously, this maritime towns bears the Grandmaster's surname.