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Title: Great Britain and Malta before 1798
Authors: Anderson, M. S.
Keywords: Malta -- History -- British occupation, 1800-1964
Malta -- History -- 18th century
Malta -- Foreign relations -- Great Britain
Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- Malta
Knights of Malta -- Foreign relations -- Great Britain
Order of St John -- Foreign relations -- Great Britain
Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- Knights of Malta
Great Britain -- Foreign relations -- Order of St John
Malta -- History -- Knights of Malta, 1530-1798
Issue Date: 1954
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Anderson, M. S. (1954). Great Britain and Malta before 1798. The Mariner's Mirror, 40(2), 128-140.
Abstract: From the moment of its occupation by British troops in 1800, indeed from that of its conquest by France two years earlier, Malta has played a leading role in British imperial strategy and naval organization. It is thus surprising at first sight that until the middle decades of the eighteenth century remarkably little attention was paid to the island in political or naval circles in Britain, that its strategic potentialities, though not unknown, were largely ignored, and that the interest aroused by events there was intermittent and half-hearted. A little consideration, however, will dispel this surprise. Sustained interest in the Mediterranean as a field of naval activity was slow to develop in England in the seventeenth century, in spite of occasional spectacular exploits there by commanders such as Mansell, Blake, and Prince Rupert. The abandonment of Tangier in I 684 was made possible partly by this lack of interest, 1 and not until I 694 did an English fleet conduct a sustained naval campaign on a really large scale in the Mediterranean.2 The idea of a canal through the isthmus of Suez had already been put forward, above all in France,3 but until the development of her routes to India via the Near East, which began seriously only in the last years of the eighteenth century, the eastern Mediterranean was to Britain a strategic dead end rather than part of a great imperial highway. Moreover, trade with the Levant, though growing in importance in the later seventeenth century, 4 never had the national significance of that with the West Indies and North America, or the glamour of that with the East Indies. Trade with Malta itself was of course quite negligible. English indifference, before the eighteenth century, to the island and to the Order of St John of Jerusalem who had held it since I 530 (nominally as a fief of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies) is thus easily understood.
Appears in Collections:Melitensia Works - ERCWHMlt

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