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Fra Alof de Wignacourt
Alof de Wignacourt
(1547 – 14 September 1622) was a French nobleman who was the 54th Grand Master of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem from 10 February 1601 to his death in 1622. Unlike a number of the other Grand Masters, he was popular with the Maltese people.[1] Wignacourt is mostly remembered for the construction of the Wignacourt Aqueduct as well as a series of coastal towers which also bear his name.

1601 Grano coin of Wignacourt

Wignacourt joined the Order in 1564, aged seventeen, and distinguished himself at the Great Siege of Malta
Great Siege of Malta
a year later. He was elected Grand Master in 1601. In order to ensure that the local population continued to celebrate the date of his accession, he declared the date of the shipwreck of St Paul in Malta to be the 10 of February; a date that is celebrated passionately until today. He was patron of Caravaggio
Caravaggio
following the artist's arrival in Malta in 1607 until his arrest and subsequent expulsion from the Order in 1608.

Part of the Wignacourt Aqueduct
Wignacourt Aqueduct
at Birkirkara

His reign was notable for the construction of a number of coastal fortifications (the Wignacourt towers), and of the Wignacourt Aqueduct that brought water from the plateau above Rabat to Valletta. The Wignacourt Arch
Wignacourt Arch
was built as a part of the aqueduct between Birkirkara and Santa Venera, and it had his coat of arms with three fleur-de-lys on it, giving it the name of the Fleur-de-Lys Gate. A settlement which developed around this area is now known as Fleur-de-Lys, and the three fleur-de-lys from the coat of arms also appear on the flag of Santa Venera.[2] During his reign, in 1614 the Ottomans made their final attempt to conquer Malta. Six thousand men landed at Marsascala Bay, and raided the village of Żejtun. The Order's cavalry and Maltese civilians, however, managed to overcome the Turks who retreated, without a single Christian dead. His parade armour survives and is one of the treasures of the armoury of the Grandmaster's Palace in Valletta. Alof de Wignacourt
Alof de Wignacourt
died of apoplexy while he was out shooting on 14 September 1622 at the age of 75. See also[edit]

Wignacourt with his page boy

Wignacourt towers Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt
Alof de Wignacourt
and his Page

References[edit]

^ Alof de Wignacourt. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
in South Africa, 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2014. ^ Alof De Wignacourt : 1601–1622. Archived 2013-10-08 at the Wayback Machine. San Andrea School, 1999. Retrieved 30 January 2014.

External links[edit]

Coins of Grandmaster Alof de Wignacourt

Preceded by Martin Garzez Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller 1601–1622 Succeeded by Luís Mendes de Vasconcellos

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 2196354 LCCN: no2005034281 ISNI: 0000 0000 7243 7771 GND: 139711953 ULAN: 500341732

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