Suleiman the Magnificent and his generals and admirals , devised a military plan of conquest, a straight forward one, seize control of Malta with its grand harbor, and it becomes a great base of operation for ranging westward to Spain or northward through Italy to Rome itself. Control Malta, and Rome was in jeopardy. If Rome falls to Islamic armies, the world changes.
To be successful at this plan, the only thing Suleiman had to do was brush aside a small force of Knights of the Order of St. John that were in control of Malta. Wipe out that nest of pirates or vipers as he called them.
At the time of the battle of Malta in 1565, the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem a/k/a the Hospitaller’s, had existed as an independent order for 450 years. To understand the animosity of the Islamic forces toward the Order of St. John, let us look briefly at how the order evolved and it’s mission.