As part of a period of expansion in the Mediterranean, the powerful Ottoman Empire under Sultan Suleiman I (r. 1520-66) waged an epic siege on the island of Malta, guarded by a small force of Hospitaller knights and troops. With superior numbers, the Ottomans used their heavy cannons and siege towers, but were repulsed time and time again. Their heavy losses, combined with news of a Christian relief force, forced the Ottomans to retreat.
The picture above depicts an attack by Ottoman troops on Fort St. Elmo, with Janissary matchlock gunners joining them. After being bombarded by cannon, the fort finally fell to the Ottomans, and virtually all of its defenders were killed in the ensuing land battle.
Illustration and narrative by Ibrahim Zamir.