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Title: Czars, knights and republicans : the Malta question in Paul I's time
Authors: Frendo, Henry
Keywords: Malta -- History -- Knights of Malta, 1530-1798
Malta -- Relations -- Russia
Naval art and science -- Order of St John
Naval strategy
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: Malta University Historical Society
Citation: Frendo, H. (2003). Czars, knights and republicans : the Malta question in Paul I's time. Storja, 2003-2004, 62-75.
Abstract: When Paul I came to the throne in 1796, Malta and Russia had long had a common enemy. It was the Ottoman Empire, its Muslim Turks, and its Barbary corsairs. Unlike Malta, a central Mediterranean archipelago with well-protected, deep-water harbours, Russia had been a largely landlocked country whose territorial expansion historically had tended to be across internal frontiers, from Kiev to Muscovy to Kazan. With the advent of Peter I, however, and especially after his declaration of war against Turkey and the acquisition of the Black Sea port of Azov in 1696, Russia began to nurture a naval and maritime policy. This policy was two-pronged: to the North in the struggle with Sweden for access to the Baltic; to the South in the long drawn out confrontations with the Turks in their extensive domains, hemming Russia in from the Mediterranean, and indeed from the Black Sea. Paul I's keen interest in Malta and its Catholic, aristocratic order of chivalry, must be seen in the light of a string of earlier acquaintances, overtures and schemes of mutual interest between the Czars of Russia, on one hand, and the Knights of Malta, on the other. Two of his best known predecessors, Peter I (1672-1725) and Catherine II (1729-1796), already had set their sights on Malta, its knights and, not least, its famous fleet. Given the new-found commitment to naval and maritime undertakings, Petrine Russia now had an ideological as well as a strategic shared interest with the Mediterranean headquarters of the anti-Turkish, anti-Muslim crusaders.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacArtHis
Scholarly Works - InsMS
Storja 2003-2004
Storja 2003-2004

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