Francisco Balbi di Correggio

Balbi Corregio's Diary - 20th May - The Ottomans Land in Malta

Sunday, 20th May

After the Ottomans had thoroughly reconnoitred the island they decided to make a landing at Marsaxlokk. On this day the Ottomans did not fear any opposition and commenced an early disembarkation. They mounted guards and posted advance sentries… While this was going on we were busy improving the defences of St Michael and in raising the counterscarp of the outer ditch of the Bastion of Provence, because in one places it was so low that the enemy could enter by that way and reconnoitre.

On this day the greater part of the enemy’s camp was moved to the Marsa… Near this is a spring which is so plentiful that it supplies drinking water to the galleys and other places. In its neighbourhood is a small village where the Grand Master has a good house with a garden in which were some large poplars. The place is three miles distant from the Borgo and the Turks chose it because of the water, but they did not settle down there until after a heavy skirmish with the cavalry and the people of Birgu…

On that day the Grand Master gave orders to commence the demolition of the house which stood near the walls of the Post of Castile in order to clear the ground for the fighting. He also ordered the demolition of his stable which stood outside the same wall and also to cut down some trees which were in the way.

All the soldiers, the women, the children and the beasts of the burden carried to earth from outside the walls and heaped it in many parts of the Birgu to serve for repairs where required.

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