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Title: The history of urology in Malta
Authors: Cassar, Paul
Keywords: Urology -- Malta -- History
Lithotomy -- Malta
Sexually transmitted diseases -- Malta
Genitourinary organs -- Surgery -- Malta
Issue Date: 1998
Publisher: European Association of Urology Historical Committee
Citation: Cassar, P. (1998). The history of urology in Malta. In J. J. Mattelaer (ed.), The history of urology in Malta (pp. 111-127).
Abstract: Malta, with its sister but smaller islands, Gozo and Comino, cover an area of 457 sq. km. They are in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea about 100 km south of Sicily and 290 km from North Africa, with a population of 365,000. Civilisation reached Malta at an early age. Indeed the islands boast of the oldest known standing stone age temples in the world, dating from about 3000 B.C.. It is to be expected that the medical history of the islands must have fol- lowed that of other civilised societies although information is often fragmentary with not much of urological import (1). The most notable impact on Maltese medical history occurred in the 16th Century when the islands were occupied by the Knights of the Order of St John in 1530. The Order started as a hospitaller society at the time of the crusades but by the time it occupied Malta, it had also assumed a militant role in defence of Christendom in the face of relentless aggression by the Ottoman Empire. Having successfully defended the Maltese islands after a momentous siege lasting three months in 1565 the Knights planned and built a fortified city, Valletta, mainly as a protection against further Muslim incursions. However, they did not lose sight of their primary hospitaller objective, and it is not surprising that they decided to erect a big hospital which was referred to as the Sacra Infermeria or Holy Infirmary.
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