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The capital city of the Republic of Malta, located south of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, Valletta was founded by Jean Parisot de la Valette, Grandmaster of the Order of Malta. The island of Malta was given to the Knights Hospitaller, a Christian military order, by Spanish King Charles V in 1530 during the height of the Islamic Ottoman Empire's power. This eventually led to the famous Siege of Malta in 1565, when the Ottomans moved to invade the island and conquer the Knights. In successfully repelling the invasion, the Order of Malta decided to construct a new, fortified city to ensure their position would be secure from future attacks. Valetta was founded along the Maltese coastline, an ideal location that provided easy access to two major harbors. The Grand Harbor, as it's known today, is the most crucial port on Malta, handling much of the republic's import and export duties.