Senglea

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L-Isla (Citta' Senglea)

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Senglea was referred to as Isola meaning an island even though it is a peninsula. During his reign as Grand Master, Fra Philipo Villers de l'Isle, this stretch of land was used as hunting ground. The first building to be erected was a chapel dedicated to St Julian, patron of hunters, in 1311, which was later rebuilt. The activity of the Order's Arsenal and fleet generated employment for many workers who were seeking accommodation in this region. Grand Master Fra Juan D’Homedes later fortified the peninsula with curtain walls, and later erected Fort Saint Michael. In 1553 under Grand Master Fra Claude de La Sengle other walls were built as well as houses within the walls, which transformed this promontory into a fortified city still bearing his name, Senglea.

During the 1565 Siege Senglea played an important and main part in defence from Turkish attacks.It was La Valette who bestowed the title of Invincible City on this fortified town. Victory was declared on 8th September, the feast day of the Nativity of Our Lady, the city's Patron Saint. During the Order’s stay on the Island, Senglea continued to grow in importance and for a long time was considered to be the second only to Valletta.

In 1596 the local mariners contributed for the erection of the Church and Convent which served as ahpsotital during the 1837 plague. During the short French Occupation Senglea was part of the municipality formed by the cities surrounding the harbour. A number of Sengleans were accused of committing treason against the French, whilst Maltese soldiers positioned on Corradino Heights bombarded French contingents stationed in Senglea which resulted in the destruction of some seventy houses in the locality . In the beginning of the British period, the inhabitans of Senglea had a major role in a new era for Malta. The British took over and gradually influenced the inhabitants' way of living. The British Admirality confiscated and converted wharves underneath Senglea bastions into a Naval Dockyard. In this way the small shipyard began by the Order was enlarged and developed by the British.

This development of the Drydocks led to the area being the main target during the Second World War. Senglea was nearly totally devastated during the War. Many inhabitants had to flee and take refuge in other places around Malta. The scars of war were repaired and this city continued to contribute to the progress and development of the Maltese Islands.