History – 1595 – 1601 Martin Garzes

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Martin Garzes, Castellan of Emposta,of the Langue of Aragon, was elected to succeed to the magisterial office on the death of Cardinal Verdalle on the 8th May 1595. Gentle and mild in character and zealously devoted to his Order, he happily succeeded in bringing about a peaceful termination to the numerous dissension’s which during the reign of his two last predecessors had been the cause of great discord among the Knights. The external relations of the Government were also greatly improved under the auspices of this Grand Master.

Garzes had not long occupied his new position, when the news reached him that a strong Turkish fleet, under the command of the Pasha Cicala, had received orders to leave the harbour of Constantinople for the purpose of attempting a descent on Malta. On receipt of this intelligence preparations were at once made to resist an attack. On the 30th September 1597 the foe appeared off Gozo, where a disembarkation of 2,000 men was effected by the Turks on the following day. But the bravery and determination of the cavalry of the Order, under the gallant commandant Beauregard, inflicted such heavy slaughter among the Turkish lines that the remainder of the shattered force had to beat a hurried retreat and seek refuge on board their ships. Hastily setting sail, the fleet directed its course towards Algiers, which had been its real place of destination.

No events of importance marked the next few years of the rule of this Grand Master, who, on the 6th February 1601, closed his peaceful career to the grief of the whole fraternity. The third part of his personal estate he left to the Order with strict instructions to erect a fort at Gozo. Five years later the fort was built, and has ever since been known as Fort St. Martin.

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