Malta Blockade

19th September 1798 - 26th October 1979
Part of : The French Revolutionary Wars (1793 - 1802)
Previous action : Généreux vs Leander 18.8.1798
Next action : Battle of Tory Island 12.10.1798

On September 19, 1798, the Ocean Squadron, commanded by the Marquis of Nisa, Domingos Xavier de Lima, began the naval blockade to the island of Malta. Integrated in the English Fleet of Horatio Nelson, the action of the Portuguese Admiral's forces was essential for the liberation of those islands from the French occupation.

The Portuguese Squadron was composed in May 1798 by 4 ships, the “Príncipe Real (90)”, the “Rainha de Portugal (74)”, the “Afonso de Albuquerque (64)” and the “S. Sebastião (64) ”; as well as the frigate “Benjamim (26) ” and the brigantim “Falcão (24)”. It set sail from Lagos (Algarve) on July 13, heading for the Mediterranean.

The Marquis de Nisa went first to Cadiz, then to Corsica and reached the port of Alexandria on 27 August. After returning to the coast of Sicily, the Portuguese squadron was ordered by Admiral Nelson to block the island of Malta, where on 2 September an insurrection of the local population against the French occupation of the island began. Arriving on the island the next day, Nisa's forces immediately blocked French ships in the port of La Valetta and patrolled the north coast of the island.

In addition to the naval blockade, the Ocean Squadron also gave in to the revolting Maltese weapons and ammunition, as well as a detachment of 20 gunners, commanded by Captain Lieutenant António Gonçalves Pereira, to support ground fighting on the island.

On October 26, the first Portuguese intervention ended in the Malta Blockade, when the Portuguese forces were replaced by English ships and returned to Naples. The Portuguese Navy artillery unit remained on the island longer, contributing to the Maltese effort against Napoleonic troops.


Revista da Armada, Maio 2007, n. 48, Ano XXXVI, pp 18-21.

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