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Title: Spanish influence in late medieval Malta
Authors: Fiorini, Stanley
Keywords: Malta -- History -- Aragonese and Castillians, 1283-1530
Sicilian Vespers, Italy, 1282
Spaniards -- Malta
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: The Malta Historical Society
Citation: Fiorini, S. (2013). Spanish influence in late medieval Malta. Proceedings of History Week 2013, 9-27.
Abstract: Charles of Anjou’s (King of Sicily from 1266 to 1282) ambitions and hard-fisted regime provoked the Sicilian catastrophe of 1282 culminating in Lu Rebellamentu of the Vespers at the end of March of that year. If the involvement of Malta in the event was peripheral in the planning stages of the coup, it was certainly crucial in its aftermath, for the Angevins continued to resist from the Castrum Maris in Birgu which remained in their hands in spite of the decisive naval battle which the Aragonese Don Roger de Luria (1245–1305) won in the Grand Harbour on 8 July 1283. Prior to his departure, Luria stationed 300 Catalan soldiers – 200 at Mdina and 100 in the Gozo Castello – to render the islands safe against further Angevin aggression from those still at the Castrum Maris, which held out until February 1284. Direct Spanish contacts with Malta are evident very soon after the Sicilian Vespers, that momentous event whereby Sicily, and Malta with it, passed into a new Western Mediterranean sphere, the confederation of the Aragonese crown. Further to the 300 Catalan soldiers left here by de Luria, already in January 1283, we see King Pedro III (1276–85) granting a salvus conductus to the Catalan Ugo de Cambrilis and his party travelling to Malta from Sicily. De Cambrilis, who hailed from Barcelona, was a highranking official, sufficiently esteemed by the king to be entrusted with the intermediary role between His Majesty and the Angevins holding the Castrum of Malta, including the issuing of salvi conductus in his own hand, to the latter. With the final take-over of the Castrum Maris by the Aragonese, who appointed Manfred Lancia captain of the islands, the continued presence of Catalans there remains well-documented throughout the whole of the fourteenth century.
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