Cottonera Lines

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Cottonera Lines
Is-Swar tal-Kottonera
Cospicua and Birgu, Malta
Stanta Margherita Lines.jpg
The Cottonera Lines as seen from Għajn Dwieli
Santa Margherita & Cottonera Lines map.png
Map of the Cottonera Lines and the Santa Margherita Lines. The Cottonera Lines are the outer line of fortifications.
Coordinates 35°52′37.4″N14°31′36.2″E / 35.877056°N 14.526722°E / 35.877056; 14.526722
TypeLine of fortifications
Site information
Owner Government of Malta
Various private owners
ConditionMostly intact
Site history
Built1670–1760s
Built by Order of Saint John
In use17th–20th centuries
Materials Limestone
Battles/wars Siege of Malta (1798–1800)

The Cottonera Lines (Maltese : Is-Swar tal-Kottonera), also known as the Valperga Lines (Maltese : Is-Swar ta' Valperga), are a line of fortifications in Bormla and Birgu, Malta. They were built in the 17th and 18th centuries to replace the earlier line of fortifications, known as the Santa Margherita Lines surrounding Bormla.

Contents

History

In 1638, construction of Santa Margherita fortifications began around Bormla but works stopped soon after due to a lack of funds, and they remained in an unfinished state.

In 1669, fears of an Ottoman attack rose after the fall of Candia, and a new city, the Civitas Cotonera, named after the reigning Grand Master, Nicolas Cotoner was designed by the Italian engineer Antonio Maurizio Valperga, who also modified the Floriana Lines and some other fortifications of the Grand Harbour. In times of siege, the Civitas Cotonera was meant to offer shelter to the 40,000 island's inhabitants and their animals.

Portrait of Grand Master Nicolas Cotoner with a plan of the Cottonera Lines Portret van Nicolas Cotoner, RP-P-1910-4286.jpg
Portrait of Grand Master Nicolas Cotoner with a plan of the Cottonera Lines


The Civitas Cotonera was called the "most ambitious work of fortification ever undertaken by the Knights of St John in Malta". [1]

Construction of the Civita Cotonera and conversion of the earlier fortifications into the Santa Margherita castle, commenced in 1670 but following an outbreak of the plague, which only helped to put more pressure on the Order's already depleted funds, work was discontinued. In 1680 Grand Master Nicolas Coroner passed away and his project was shelved.

By this time, the bastioned enceinte was mostly complete and parts of the ditch had been excavated, but other crucial parts such as cavaliers, ravelins, the glacis and the covertway had not yet been built.

In the early 18th century, some efforts were made to complete the Cotonera fortifications. Contrary to Grandmaster Cotoner's plan for a castle at the centre of the new city, the Santa Margherita was continued as a line of fortifications.

Gunpowder magazines were built on St. James and St. Clement Bastions, while Fort San Salvatore was built on St. Salvatore Bastion. [2] The lines were eventually completed in the 1760s, [3] but the ditch was left unfinished while the outworks and cavaliers were never built. [4]

During the French blockade of 1798–1800, the Cottonera lines were held by the French. The Maltese insurgents who had rebelled against them built an entrenchment around the Cottonera and the other fortifications in the harbour area. A number of batteries and lookout posts, such as Tal-Borg Battery and Windmill Redoubt, were also built in the vicinity. Meanwhile, the French bombarded the Maltese in Żabbar. [5]

The British modified the incomplete Civitas Cotonera in the 19th century with the construction of St. Clement's Retrenchment, which connected the Cotonera with the Santa Margherita fortifications. As part of this project the British also built the Fort Verdala on the same site that Grandmaster Nicolas Cotoner had intended to build his castle. In the 1870s, the Valperga Bastion and St. Paul's Curtain, the St. Paul's Gate and a church dedicated to St. Francis De Paule were demolished to make way for the new road and Ghajn Dwieli tunnel, which formed part of an extension of the Malta Dockyard. [6]

The fortifications were included on the Antiquities List of 1925. [7]

Layout

The Cottonera Lines consist of the following bastions and curtain walls (going clockwise from Kalkara Creek to French Creek):

Map of San Salvatore Bastion (including Fort San Salvatore) and the adjoining curtain walls Fort San Salvatore map.png
Map of San Salvatore Bastion (including Fort San Salvatore) and the adjoining curtain walls
The Notre Dame Gate, the main gate of the Cottonera Lines Bieb is-Sultan (Grandmaster).jpg
The Notre Dame Gate, the main gate of the Cottonera Lines

Today, St. Laurence Demi-Bastion to Notre Dame Curtain fall within the limits of Birgu, while Notre Dame to St. Paul Bastions fall within the limits of Cospicua.

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References

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  2. Spiteri, Stephen C. (2 May 2012). "Arx Occasional Papers - Hospitaller Gunpowder Magazines". MilitaryArchitecture.com. pp. 16–18. Archived from the original on 15 September 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  3. Stephenson, Charles (2004). The Fortifications of Malta 1530-1945 . Osprey Publishing. p.  16. ISBN   1841766933.
  4. "Ditch – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  5. Spiteri, Stephen C. (May 2008). "Maltese 'siege' batteries of the blockade 1798-1800" (PDF). Arx - Online Journal of Military Architecture and Fortification (6): 4–33. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 November 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  6. Zahra, Lorenzo (1981). "Cottonera Fortifications". Heritage: An Encyclopedia of Maltese Culture and Civilization. Midsea Books Ltd. 3: 908.
  7. "Protection of Antiquities Regulations 21st November, 1932 Government Notice 402 of 1932, as Amended by Government Notices 127 of 1935 and 338 of 1939". Malta Environment and Planning Authority . Archived from the original on 19 April 2016.
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  9. "San Salvatore Curtain – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  10. "San Salvatore Gate – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  11. "San Salvatore Bastion – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
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  14. "St Louis Gate – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  15. "St Louis Bastion – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  16. "St James Curtain – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  17. "St James Gate – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  18. "St James Bastion – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  19. "Notre Dame de la Grace Curtain – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
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  21. "Notre Dame de la Grace Bastion – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  22. "Curtain between Notre Dame Bastion and St Clement Bastions – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  23. "Masonry tenaille in ditch – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  24. "St Clements Bastion – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  25. "St Clement's Curtain – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  26. "St Clement Gate – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  27. "St Nicholas Bastion – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  28. "St Nicholas Curtain – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  29. "St John Bastion – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  30. "St John Curtain – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  31. "St John Gate – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  32. "St Paul Bastion – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
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  34. "St Paul Curtain – Cottonera Lines" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2015.