Toni Bajada was a Maltese spy for the Knights of Saint John during the Great Siege of Malta. He was born in Naxxar.
The most famous of the Maltese spies, Bajada is said to have learned the Turkish language during years of captivity. Disguised as a Turk, he would infiltrate the enemy camps and along with the four other Maltese spies of the era (Andrew Zahra, James Pace, Anton Cascia, Francis Xerri), played a crucial role in intelligence gathering for the Christian side.
Personally chosen for the task by Grand Master Jean de Valette, Bajada also became famous for swimming at length to carry secret messages in and out of the besieged cities of Birgu and Senglea.
Toni Bajada continues to enjoy fame and respect as a folk hero in Malta and streets were named in his honour in Valletta, St Paul's Bay and Naxxar.
Toni Bajada is the main protagonist of the book Toni Bajada The Maltese Messenger of the Grand Master (2001) by Italian author Emilio Lombardi.
Valletta is the capital city of Malta. Located in the South Eastern Region of the main island, between Marsamxett Harbour to the west and the Grand Harbour to the east, its population in 2014 was 6,444, while the metropolitan area around it has a population of 393,938. Valletta is second only to Nicosia as the southernmost capital of Europe, and at just 0.61 square kilometres (61 ha), it is the European Union's smallest capital city.
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), officially the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, commonly known as the Order of Malta, Malta Order or Knights of Malta, is a Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalric and noble nature. Though it possesses no territory, the order is a sovereign entity of international law, enjoys permanent observer status at the United Nations, and maintains diplomatic relations with many countries.
Birgu, also known by its title Città Vittoriosa, is an old fortified city on the south side of the Grand Harbour in the South Eastern Region of Malta. The city occupies a promontory of land with Fort Saint Angelo at its head and the city of Cospicua at its base. Birgu is ideally situated for safe anchorage, and over time it has developed a very long history with maritime, mercantile and military activities.
Senglea, also known by its title Città Invicta, is a fortified city in the South Eastern Region of Malta. It is one of the Three Cities in the Grand Harbour area, the other two being Cospicua and Vittoriosa, and has a population of approximately 2,720 people. The city's title Città Invicta was given because it managed to resist the Ottoman invasion at the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. The name Senglea comes from the Grand Master who built it Claude de la Sengle and gave the city a part of his name. While Senglea is the 52nd most populated locality on the island, due to its incredibly small land area, it is the 2nd most densely populated locality after Sliema.
Saint Paul's Bay is a town in the Northern Region of Malta, sixteen kilometres northwest of the capital Valletta. Saint Paul's Bay is the largest town in the Northern Region and the seat of the Northern Regional Committee along with being the most populous town in Malta.
St John's Co-Cathedral is a Roman Catholic co-cathedral in Valletta, Malta, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. It was built by the Order of St. John between 1572 and 1577, having been commissioned by Grand Master Jean de la Cassière as the Conventual Church of Saint John.
Mdina, also known by its titles Città Vecchia or Città Notabile, is a fortified city in the Northern Region of Malta which served as the island's capital from antiquity to the medieval period. The city is still confined within its walls, and has a population of just under 300, but it is contiguous with the town of Rabat, which takes its name from the Arabic word for suburb, and has a population of over 11,000.
The Great Siege of Malta occurred in 1565 when the Ottoman Empire attempted to conquer the island of Malta, then held by the Knights Hospitaller. The siege lasted nearly four months, from 18 May to 11 September 1565.
Cospicua, also known by its titles Città Cospicua or Civitas Cottonera, is a double-fortified harbour city in the South Eastern Region of Malta. Along with Birgu and Senglea, it is one of the Three Cities, located within the Grand Harbour to the east of the capital city Valletta. With a population of 5,395 as of March 2014, it is the most dense city of the Three Cities.
San Ġwann is a town in the Central Region of Malta, with a population of 12,523 as of March 2014. Previous to its separate administration the town used to form part of two separate localities being Birkirkara and St. Julian's.
Naxxar is a town in the Northern Region of Malta, with a population of about 13,443 people as of March 2014. The Naxxar Church is dedicated to Our Lady of Victories. The annual village feast is celebrated on 8 September. Naxxar was formerly known for hosting the Maltese International Trade Fair at Maltese International Trade Fair Grounds.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieħa is a Roman Catholic church in the village of Mellieħa in Malta. The sanctuary originated as a natural cave which was consecrated as a church at an unknown date, and local traditions link its establishment to antiquity or the medieval period. The church's altarpiece is a Byzantine-style fresco which is believed to date back to the late 12th or early 13th centuries, and it is said to be miraculous.
Fort St. Angelo is a bastioned fort in Birgu, Malta, located at the centre of the Grand Harbour. It was originally built in the medieval period as a castle called the Castrum Maris. It was rebuilt by the Order of Saint John as a bastioned fort called Fort Saint Angelo between the 1530s and the 1560s, and it is best known for its role as the Order's headquarters during the Great Siege of Malta of 1565. A major reconstruction to designs of Carlos de Grunenbergh took place in the 1690s, giving the fort its current appearance.
Fort Saint Michael was a small fort in the land front of the city of Senglea, Malta. It was originally built in the 1550s and it played a significant role in the Great Siege of Malta of 1565. Following the siege, it was rebuilt as Saint Michael Cavalier, and it was completed in 1581. The cavalier was partially demolished in the 20th century, and only a part of its base still exists today.
Iklin is a village in the Central Region of Malta, with a population of 3,130 as of March 2014. Iklin was established in the mid-20th century; however some archaeological sites and a medieval chapel, named as St. Michael Chapel, are proof to earlier settlements. Until recently, the town was considered to form part of the Three villages of Malta, as part of Lija. With the separation of Iklin from Lija, Iklin is no longer part of the three villages. It is bordered by Għargħur, San Ġwann, Birkirkara, Balzan, Lija and Naxxar.
Victory Day is a public holiday celebrated in Malta on 8 September and recalls the end of three historical sieges made on the Maltese archipelago, namely: the Great Siege of Malta by the Ottoman Empire ending in 1565; the Siege of Valletta by the French Blockade ending in 1800; and, the Siege of Malta during the Second World War by the Italian army ending in 1943.
Manuel Pinto da Fonseca was a Portuguese nobleman, the 68th Grand Master of the Order of Saint John, from 1741 until his death.
The Grandmaster's Palace, officially known as The Palace, is a palace in Valletta, Malta. It was built between the 16th and 18th centuries as the palace of the Grand Master of the Order of St. John, who ruled Malta, and was also known as the Magisterial Palace. It eventually became the Governor's Palace, and it currently houses the Office of the President of Malta. Parts of the building, namely the Palace State Rooms and the Palace Armoury, are open to the public as a museum run by Heritage Malta.
Malta was ruled by the Knights Hospitaller, or Order of Saint John, as a vassal state of the Kingdom of Sicily from 1530 to 1798. The islands of Malta and Gozo, as well as the city of Tripoli in modern Libya, were granted to the Order by Spanish Emperor Charles V in 1530, following the loss of Rhodes. The Ottoman Empire managed to capture Tripoli from the Order in 1551, but an attempt to take Malta in 1565 failed.
Fra' Jean "Parisot" de la Valette was a French nobleman and 49th Grand Master of the Order of Malta, from 21 August 1557 to his death in 1568. As a Knight Hospitaller, joining the order in the Langue de Provence, he fought with distinction against the Turks at Rhodes. As Grand Master, Valette became the Order's hero and most illustrious leader, commanding the resistance against the Ottomans at the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, sometimes regarded as one of the greatest sieges of all time.