Jean Parisot de Valette

Jean Parisot de La Valette
Grand Master of the Order of Saint John
In office
21 August 1557 – 21 August 1568
MonarchKing Philip I
Preceded byClaude de la Sengle
Succeeded byPierre de Monte
Governor of Tripoli
In office
Appointed byJuan de Homedes y Coscon
Preceded byGeorge Schilling
Succeeded byAurelio Bottigella
Personal details
Born4 February 1495
Parisot, Rouergue, France
Died21 August 1568 (1568-08-22) (aged 73)
Resting placeSt. John's Co-Cathedral (originally buried at the Church of Our Lady of Victories)
Domestic partnerCatherine Grecque and other mistresses
ChildrenBarthélemy de Valette
Isabella Guasconi
possibly other illegitimate children
Military service
AllegianceSovereign Military Order of Malta Order of Saint John
Years of service1514–1568
RankCaptain General of the Galleys (1554–1557)
Grand Master (1557–1568)
Battles/warsSiege of Rhodes
Great Siege of Malta

Fra' Jean Parisot de La Valette[a] (4 February 1495[?] – 21 August 1568) was a French nobleman and 49th Grand Master of the Order of Malta, from 21 August 1557 to his death in 1568. As a Knight Hospitaller, joining the order in the Langue de Provence, he fought with distinction against the Turks at Rhodes. As Grand Master, Valette became the Order's hero and most illustrious leader, commanding the resistance against the Ottomans at the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, sometimes regarded as one of the greatest sieges of all time.[1]

The foundation stone of Valletta was laid by Grandmaster La Valette in 1566. He did not live to see Valletta completed, as he died in 1568 and was succeeded by Grandmaster Pierre de Monte.

Early life

La Valette

He was born into the noble La Valette family in Quercy, South-western France, which had been an important family in France for many generations, various members having participated in the Crusades. Jean Parisot's grandfather, Bernard de La Valette, was a Knight and King's Orderly, and his father Guillot was a Chevalier de France. Jean Parisot was a distant cousin (through their mutual ancestor Almaric, Seigneur de Parisot) of Jean Louis de Nogaret de La Valette, first Duke of Épernon.[2]

Although his birth year is usually given as 1494, both chroniclers of the Great Siege of Malta, Francisco Balbi di Correggio and Hipolito Sans, say he was 67 at the time, thereby implying that he was born in 1498. In his history of the Order of St. John, the 18th-century historian Abbe Vertot (whose history is largely based on - but often confuses - the earlier one of Giacomo Bosio) indicates that Valette was indeed the same age as both Suleiman I and Kızılahmedli Mustafa Pasha (the commander of the Ottoman land forces), which would mean that he was actually 70 years old at the time of the siege.

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