Jean Parisot De La Valette, a grand master of the knights of Malta, born in 1494, died in Malta, Aug. 21, 1568. He belonged to an eminent family of Toulouse, passed through every grade of his order to lieutenant general, and was in 1557 unanimously chosen grand master as successor of Claude de la Langle. The assistance which he rendered in the wars against the Turks, and the rapid growth of the order under his administration, induced Solyman the Magnificent to fit out an expedition for the reduction of Malta; and on May 18, 1565, 180 Turkish vessels of war, with 30,000 troops on board, cast anchor in the gulf of Mugiarro. La Valette had constructed new fortifications at the N. E. extremity of the peninsula now occupied by the city of Valetta, but his garrison consisted of only 700 knights and 8,500 soldiers, including the inhabitants who had been armed for the occasion; yet with these he withstood one of the most terrific sieges on record until Sept. 8, when, on the arrival of the viceroy of Naples with 8,000 men for his assistance, the Turks took to their ships. They disembarked again, but were defeated with great slaughter and fled in disorder.
Their loss during the siege is said to have been 30,000 (they had several times been reŽnforced); while the knights, on the departure of the Turkish fleet, had barely 600 left of all their combatants. La Valette rebuilt the fortifications, and founded the town of Valetta, to which he removed the residence of the knights from Citta Vecchia.