In March of 1813, three ships (known as brigs) arrived from the port Alexandria, which was infected with the Bubonic plague.
The brigs were put into quarantine. One of them – the San Nicola – was quarantined at the Lanzaretto Creek for 14 days until it left again to Alexandria. The Authorities wanted the brig out of the harbour right away. The owners wanted compensation.
It is believed that Salvu Borg, a shoemaker and smuggler from Valletta, purchased some stolen goods, including some items from the San Nicola Brig, from a wine shop in Sliema.
Him and his family were the first to die of the bubonic plague. They were followed by neighbours in the St Paul’s Street area – at the time a poor area of Valletta.
The authorities were initially unable to contain the disease.
The result was 4,500 dead by the end of that summer.
PT1: Snippets of the 1813 Bubonic Plague
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Featured image: An ex-voto of the Plague of 17 Aug 1813 of Anna Lungaro showing the pest Hospital Valletta.