This is how Manoel Island looked in the 1800s

Manoel Island and the surrounding area of Gzira was very different from today (and from that of tomorrow). It was mainly a rural area surrounded by fields and a few farm houses. Without the lights of today, the road to Sliema must have looked pretty bleak at night.

Manoel Island’s role in 1813 was that of a quarantine area for infected people with the Bubonic plague. The ship’s Captain and his crew of men, who had arrived with the San Nicola Brig from the Alexandria port, were quarantined at the Lanzaretto hospital. Two crew members had died during the trip to Malta.

The captain did not show any signs of illness at first. However, a headache soon developed into a fever and vomiting. He died after a few days from the infection of the disease.

A map of the area around Manoel Island. Feature image by Giorgio Pullicino (1779-1851) – view of Manoel Island

PT3: Snippets of the 1813 Bubonic Plague

Sarangu’s World is supported by Arts Council Malta – Malta Arts Fund