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The French Execution of Maltese rebels 1799.

 

 
In June 1798, the French under Napoleon conquered Malta. In the following months, the Napoleon dissolved the Maltese nobility and strongly restricted the church, which was also stripped of it?s treasures. After 3 months of French rule, the Maltese were no longer willing to tolerate Napoleons tyranny and started to resist the French occupation. The French army had to retreat into the fortifications, while the Maltese asked for support from Sicily and England.
 
One of the main figures in the upraising was Dun Mikiel Xerri, a Roman Catholic priest. Xerri, born on the 10th of February 1740, was a philosopher and mathematician and convinced that a revolt was the only way to regain the people's rights.
 
To the Maltese nothing was more valuable than freedom. Hundreds of people died of malnutrition and disease, including many of the French troops.
 
 
 
The Maltese planned attacks on the French army in Valletta and Cottonera, but the French came to know of the plot. Amongst the 49 men caught for plotting against the French was Dun Mikiel Xerri.
 
In the morning of January 17, 1799, Bishop Labini visited Dun Mikiel and the other prisoners and blessed them. The prisoners were brought from St. Elmo to Liberty Square, where a platoon of soldiers awaited them. On their way to the square Dun Mikiel encouraged his friends, and having arrived at the square, he asked for some minutes to speak to his compatriots. Prayers were said, and they all asked God to forgive them. Dun Mikiel advanced towards the officer, took out a silver watch, gave it to him, and said, "Please fire straight at my heart, I shall give you the signal to fire" Then he shouted, together with his compatriots, "God have mercy on us! Long live Malta!" There was a volley of shots, Dun Mikiel and the rest slumped down. Malta, for whose freedom they had died, received their warm bodies.