Friday, August 26, 2011

Facebook Campaign to Repatriate de Valette's Sword-- But to Where?

A Maltese history buff has started a Facebook campaign to seek the return of de Valette's ceremonial sword from France to Malta. See

The sword has an interesting history. As the article explains,

"The sword and a matching dagger had been given to the Grand Master by the Holy Roman Emperor Philippe II of Spain in 1565 [better known here for his effort to invade England], to mark the Order’s victory in the Great Siege in the same year, which had led to the retreat of the Ottoman forces.

In 1798, while on his way to Egypt, Napoleon landed in Malta. He captured the islands with the loss of only three Frenchmen. The knights had lost their fighting spirit and although the Maltese forces offered to resist the occupation, Grand Master Ferdinand Von Hompesch surrendered.

In his Facebook page, Bring Back The Sword of La Valette to Malta, Mr Bugeja says: 'This sword was unfortunately taken from us by Napoleon’s soldiers when they invaded Malta and is now on display in the Louvre Museum in Paris. This sword rightfully belongs to the Maltese people and should be in a Maltese museum and not in Paris.'"

But, even if the French would accede to such a request, should the de Valette sword really be sent back to Malta? Or, is its proper place at the headquarters of de Valette's "Order of Malta" in Rome, particularly when his knights continue to maintain many of the trappings of a sovereignty, including diplomatic relations, coins, stamps and even an "air force." See

Yet another conundrum the comes with the repatriationist territory.

No comments: