Resentment and Changes

 1798 - 1815

In June 1798, a French armada under the command of General Napoleon Bonaparte appeared on the horizon. Following a feeble resistance, the Knights capitulated and the Maltese Islands fell under French rule.

The French carried out a number of reforms. However a number of their measures caused resentment among the Maltese and on the 2nd September 1798 the Maltese rose against the French. Within the space of a few hours Mdina and the whole of the countryside fell into the hands of the Maltese. Valletta, Floriana and the Forts Manoel and Tignč remained in the hands of the French, who were besieged by the Maltese. The French Blockade lasted two years.

The Maltese insurgents set up a Provisional Government and set up batteries at strategic points. Help was obtained from Naples and in 1799 following a request from the Maltese, the Maltese Islands were placed under the special protection of His Britannic Majesty.

The blockade ended in September 1800, and following the French capitulation, the Maltese Islands were administered by the British Government and Sir Alexander Ball was appointed by the first Civil Commissioner.

Hostilities between England and France came to an end in 1802, with the Treaty of Amiens. According to this Treaty, the British were to evacuate Malta which was to revert back to the Order of St John. The majority of the Maltese objected to this decision. Difficulties ensued, the British did not evacuate Malta and in May 1803, war broke out again between Britain and France.

During the Napoleonic Wars, Malta experienced an economic boom due to the Continental System. The war between England and France came to an end in 1814 and according to the Treaty of Paris (1814) the Maltese Islands formally became part of the British Empire. The artificial prosperity created by the War began to abate with its end and further difficulties ensued in 1813 after an outbreak of plague which killed 4,000 people.

Key Dates - The French

1798 Napoleon Bonaparte takes Malta from the Knights.

1798 Uprising of the Maltese against the French.
1799 Britain takes Malta
1800 The French surrender
1802 Peace of Amiens



Key Dates - Early British Period (1800-1815)

1800  The French capitulate, Major General H. Pigot instructed to place Malta 

            under the protection of the British Crown

1802   Peace of Amiens by which Malta was to have been returned to the Order of St John. Declaration of Rights.

1813   Outbreak of plague which killed 4,000 people.

1813  The Bathurst Constitution. First issue of Gazzetta del Governo di Malta 

            - changed, in 1816, to Malta Government Gazette.

1814  Treaty of Paris by which Malta becomes a British Crown Colony.