In 1523 the Sovereign Military Order of St John of Jerusalem and Rhodes was forced to leave Rhodes after six months of fierce fighting against the army of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. For a few years the Order remained without its own territory. Eventually the Island was granted to the Order by Emperor Charles V with the approval of Pope Clement VII and 1530 Grand Master Fra\’ Philippe de Villiers de l\’Isle Adam took possession of Malta.
In 1565, for more than three months, the knights led by Grand Master Fra\’ Jean de la Valette, courageously defended the Island against the Ottomans. This battle, of which the Order was victorious, is recorded in history as the Great Siege of Malta. Following this victory, the knights built the city and port of Valletta and proceeded to transformed Malta\’s culture and landscape by undertaking numerous projects. The Order also built a large new hospital, which at the time, was considered to be among the best in the world. Malta\’s geographical position assisted the Order in its important maneuvers against the Ottoman fleet and North African pirates. The knights left Malta in 1798 after surrendering to an invasion by the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Nowadays, the Order is active in over 120 countries, helping the poor and the suffering without distinction of colour, creed or race. The mission of the Order is carried out worldwide by 13,500 knights and dames, 80,000 volunteers and over 25, 000 employees – mainly medical personnel. Through its relief corps, Malteser International, the Order is also engaged in aiding victims of natural disasters, epidemics and armed conflicts.
The images of the grandmasters were lifted from: \”Histoire de l\’Ordre de Malte\” written by René Aubert de Vertot (1655-1733) whereas the portraits of the last five grandmasters were drawn by artist Cedric Galea Pirotta.
Issue Date: 30.09.2014 Designer: MaltaPost p.l.c. / Cedric Galea Pirotta Process: Offset
Colours: 4 Colours Size: stamps – 44mm x 31mm, sheet – 180mm x 113mm Values: 26c