The Malta Independent 23 February 2020, Sunday

Napoleon Bonaparte And his Maltese soldiers

Malta Independent Monday, 12 October 2009, 00:00 Last update: about 7 years ago

When General Bonaparte left Malta to invade Egypt, among the troops of his Army of the Orient were some 400 Maltese, ex-soldiers of the Knights of Malta forcibly “press ganged” by the French. In Egypt, Bonaparte formed them into the Legion Maltaise.

Author Richard Mifsud tells the story of the trials and hardship suffered by the Maltese soldiers in a new book, in English, entitled Napoleon’s Maltese Legion. He also tells the story of some 40 Maltese soldiers who ended up in France where a Depot de la Legion Maltaise was set up.

The book contains the first ever publication of an ‘ex voto’ painting presented by an ex-soldier of the Legion Maltaise to the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin at Mellieha. Sergeant Michele Tabuni says in his dedication that “about a hundred Maltese and French soldiers were attacked by hundreds of Arabs and owe their lives to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin”. This is one of the very few artifacts relating to hat period still in existence.

Another feature is a number of documents of the Legion in France including the roster and a letter by the Maltese to the War Minister protesting against the incorporation of the Legion Maltaise into the Legion Italique.

Just published by KoPri koperattiva Ltd, the book is the first of a project by KoPri to produce historical studies.

KoPri koperattiva Ltd was set mainly to provide training in desk top publishing, journalism and editorial writing to members of NGOs. It has now launched its Project History and further publications are in the pipeline.

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