Siege of Rhodes - Creation of Knights of Malta

20 Dec 2022
by Samuel Taylor

On this day, the 20th of December 1522, the Siege of Rhodes ended with victory for Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire. The siege was the result of an attempt to seize control of the Mediterranean by the Empire. While the Knights of Rhodes were technically an independent state, they were the last remaining Hospitaller force, and they were in the way.

Lasting six months, the walls of Rhodes were continually bombarded with artillery, and undermined (literally) with barrel explosives. As many as 100,000 soldiers participated, ending in a truce between the two exhausted and diseased parties.

Suleiman allowed the Knights and islanders to leave with their arms and valuables, if they wished, promising no further harm nor conversion of churches to mosques. The Knights certainly took him up on his offer, making their way back to Sicily first, then after a few years settling the island of Malta. They would hold this bastion for almost another 300 years.