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Cottonera

Online since: 28. Mai 2013

Cospicua in Malta

Cottonera is the collective name for the three cities: Vittoriosa (Birgu), Senglea (L Isla) and Cospicua (Bormla). The middle headland, Vittoriosa, was the only one of the three peninsulas that was inhabited, when the Knights of the Order of St John arrived in 1530. Back then, the city was known as “Borgo del Castello”, and it was from that name that the city’s present name, “Birgu”, was derived. The new name, Vittoriosa, was given to the city after the Great Siege of the Turks. Vittoriosa means “The Victorious” and to this day, this is its Dockshonorary name. In 1552, the Grand Master Claude de la Sengle had the neighbouring peninsula fortified. The Order of St John used their considerable wealth to employ many workers to get this done, and soon both headlands were overpopulated. Consequently, many people settled down between the two headlands. The Knights of St John named this city Cospicua, today’s Bormla.

Today, these three places are known as the “Three Cities”. All of them are older than Valletta, which was only built in 1566. In 1571, the Order of St John moved to this new city, which would one day become Malta’s capital. The Margerita Lines and the Cottonera Lines, Vittoriosatwo fortified defence lines, were completed in 1638 and between 1670-80, respectively. Both are clearly recognisable to this day.

The three bays between the peninsulas are known as Kalkara, Dockyard Creek (between Vittoriosa and Senglea) and French Creek (where the present harbour is). In 1848, the Royal Navy used the Dockyard Creek as its first repair dock.

During World War II, the cities were heavily bombarded, as the harbour was an important strategic location. Large sections of the residential areas and the harbour were destroyed.

S. Wagner

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