Fra’ Pierre de Monte, Grand Master of the Order of Malta, 1568 - 1572

  • Pierre de Monte was the nephew of Pope Julius III
  • He fought in both the Siege of Rhodes and the Great Siege of Malta
  • He held off the Ottomans at Fort St. Michael for 55 days
  • His reign continued the construction of Valletta, Malta’s capital city

Fra' Pierre de Monte served as the 50th Grand Master of the Order of Malta from 1568 to 1572, when the Order was still popularly referred to as the Order of St. John and the Knights Hospitaller.

An Italian nobleman and the nephew of Pope Julius III, de Monte was born in Italy in 1499.

As a young man, he joined the Order and fought in the Siege of Rhodes in 1522, which was the second (and ultimately successful) attempt by the Ottoman Empire to gain control of the island of Rhodes and, in doing so, assert its dominance over the entire Eastern Mediterranean.

De Monte and the Knights under his command managed to hold [Fort St. Michael] for 55 days until, finally, the Ottomans abandoned their attack.

Decades later, the Order had firmly established its new headquarters on the island Malta. De Monte once again fought on behalf of the Order during the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. Once again, the Ottoman Empire wanted control over the Order’s land.

The majority of the Order’s forces were needed to fight off Ottoman invaders in Birgu. De Monte, however, was about a mile away from Birgu in the town of Senglea, where he had been given command over Fort St. Michael.

The Great Siege of Malta, 1565

Fort St. Michael

Fort St. Michael in Senglea, Malta, today

The Order’s victory over the Ottomans in the Great Siege of Malta was one of the most celebrated events of that era.

Senior knights, wearing the "Rhodian cross”

It wasn’t long before Ottoman invaders attacked Fort St. Michael. But, de Monte and the Knights under his command managed to hold the fort for 55 days until, finally, the Ottomans abandoned their attack.

The Order’s victory over the Ottomans in the Great Siege of Malta was one of the most celebrated events of that era.

Three years later, de Monte was appointed Grand master of the Order on August 23, 1568. His predecessor, Jean Parisot de Valette, had started the construction of Malta’s new capital city, Valletta. De Monte continued the construction of Valletta and, in 1569, he added the Del Monte Gate, which was demolished by the British centuries later in 1884.

De Monte was Grand Master for just a little over three years. He died in January 1572 and was succeeded by Jean de la Cassière.