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One of the Mediterranean's epitomes of a melting pot, Malta was strategically and financially important, and thus most of the surrounding powers coveted it, becoming a stronghold of the Knights Hospitaller.

The Maltese civilization's music theme

The Maltese are a playable European civilization in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - Knights of the Mediterranean, which is based on the Knights Hospitaller control of Malta as a vassal state of the Kingdom of Sicily.

Unlike the Italians, the Maltese had colonies in the new World, as they bought several islands in the Carribeans as part of an agreement with the French before the islands were sold back to the French West India Company. Much like the Italians, the Knights Hospitaller played a crucial role in slowing the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into Europe, as they manage to hold out on their own in the Great Siege of Malta.

Home City[]

Home City Maltese.png


Overall, the Maltese are best played defensively. Their two unique infantry units, the Hospitaller and Sentinel, receive their bonuses only when near friendly structures (for the Sentinels, it is near friendly defensive structures, such as the Outpost and Fixed Gun). Additionally, one of their unique buildings, the Depot, boosts gunpowder unit attack only within its radius, and also acts as a sort of large improvised explosive device, exploding on command or upon destruction to deal substantial damage to every unit and/or building in its radius. Furthermore, the Fixed Gun, while powerful and long-ranged, acts as both a building and a unit, taking up seven population slots and requiring wood and coin to be built by the Grand Master, and the Fixed Artillery has a minimum range where enemy units close to it cannot be targeted, necessitating that it be defended by other units.

Unique Maltese infantry units are slightly more expensive than common infantry, and take up two population slots. As such, a Maltese player will find it challenging to attempt to raise large armies based on these unique units. However, various Home City cards will enhance the effectiveness of Maltese unique units, granting them access to powerful charged abilities - though some also add to their build cost. Other cards will automatically send a number of Hospitallers based on the amount of defensive/military structures a player has, possibly greatly strengthening the Maltese in the late game.

Other Home City cards send numbers of units from other European civilizations, such as the British or the French, and subsequently allows their recruitment in the Commandery, which acts as a Stable/fortification for the Maltese, along with adding to their flexibility in army composition. These cards also send a wagon to build one Commandery for free. Maltese artillery largely shares the roster of most other European civilizations, with one notable difference - the Fire Thrower, which replaces the slot for the Grenadier in the Artillery Foundry. Additionally, like other European nations, the Maltese have access to a Factory via a Home City shipment, but only one, thus slightly limiting the Maltese economy in the late game.


  • Starts with a Grand Master.
  • Maltese units gain additional hit points with each shipment and heal over time when idle.

Unique units[]

  • Alain icon aoe3de.png Grand Master: The hero of your civilization. Explores, fights, builds Fortifications and Trading Posts. Cannot die. If he falls unconscious, he can be rescued.
  • Hospitaller portrait.png Hospitaller: Hand infantry. Absorbs damage. Faster near Buildings.
  • Maltese sentinel portrait.jpg Sentinel: Defensive Musketeer that may construct Outposts. Stronger near Buildings, especially Fortifications.
  • Hoop thrower aoe3de.png Fire Thrower: Light Infantry that attacks with incendiary weapons which inflict burning damage. Counters Heavy Infantry and Light Cavalry.
  • Order galley portrait.png Order Galley: Galley. Good at exploring, fishing and transport. Gains an attack boost after sinking enemy Ships.
  • SPC Fire ship aoe3de.png Fire Ship: Strikes anything in the water and explodes (only available after sending the Greek Fire card).

Unique buildings[]

  • Hospital portrait.png Hospital: Trains Maltese infantry. Heals idle units.
  • Commandery portrait.png Commandery: Units that can be garrisoned may be deployed from any other Commandery. Trains powerful foreign allies from around Europe who pledge their allegiance to the Knights of St. John.
  • Depot portrait.png Depot: Depot filled to the brim with gunpowder. Boosts attack speed of nearby Gunpowder Units, Artillery and Buildings. Will explode if destroyed, damaging all units.
  • Fixed gun portrait aoe3de.png Fixed Gun (Maltese): Powerful stationary artillery.

Home City Cards[]

Main article: Maltese Home City Cards


Hungary and Barbary States

In-game dialogue[]

The Maltese units speak in the namesake variant of Arab. However, some of their military units reuse military voice dialogue from other civilizations or mercenary units (i.e. their Crossbowmen reuse the French's Crossbowman lines, while the Hospitaller reuses the voice lines from the Black Rider). This is possibly to reflect various ethnic groups in Malta and those who served under the Knight Hospitalier.

  • Bonġu- Hello
  • Iva - Yes
  • Attakka! - Attack!
  • Il-ġurnata t-tajba - Good day
  • Iddefendi - Defend


  • Three of their unique buildings, the Depot, the Fixed Guns and the Commandery were originally unconstructable buildings from the campaigns although the Commandery was not under that name.
  • The Cathedral in the Home City of Valetta is inaccurately based on the Lisbon Cathedral due to being reused from the Portuguese home city.
  • They can be seen both as a Supremacy counterpart of the Knights of St. John from Act I: Blood and as an Age of Empires III counterpart of the Sicilians.
  • Malta had colonies in the Caribbean between 1651 and 1665, before selling them to the new French West India Company, bringing their colonial project to an end.


One of the Mediterranean’s epitomes of a melting pot, early modern Malta, though initially under the rule of the Aragonese crown, was home to a diverse population of Muslims, Christians, and Jews of Maltese, North African, mainland European, and eastern Mediterranean heritages. Enjoying a prime position at a crossroads of Mediterranean trade, Malta was strategically and financially important, and thus most of the surrounding powers coveted it. Sensing its importance, the Holy Roman Empire leased the island in 1530 to the Knights Hospitaller, which had been rapidly losing its eastern Mediterranean territories and needed a new stronghold.

The Knights wasted no time in making use of their new possession. Perpetually at war with the Ottoman Empire, they used Malta as a base to raid Ottoman trade routes and turned it into a formidable fortified bastion. These renovations were to prove crucial, as the Ottomans launched a campaign in 1565 to conquer the island and expel the Knights. This battle, known to posterity as the Siege of Malta, became one of the most storied in early modern history. Vastly outnumbered and outgunned, the Knights, under the steadfast leadership of Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette, repelled the Ottomans.

The battle saw the use of innovative tactics on the part of the defense: on one occasion, the Knights hid artillery in their walls and then used it to blast apart a siege tower that Ottoman Janissaries were using to take potshots at defenders; on others, the Knights hurled incendiary wooden hoops at advancing Janissaries, starting wildfires that halted their advance. The rushing Ottoman tide, formerly deemed nigh-invincible, had been halted. Six years later, in 1571, a coalition of European states known as the Holy League annihilated the Ottoman navy at Lepanto, ending Ottoman thrusts into the western Mediterranean for a time.

The Knights, redubbed the Knights of Malta, had reached the apex of their power, and went into swift decline as the rise of powerful modernizing nation-states rendered archaic military orders obsolete. Although the Knights retained control of Malta, its strategic and economic importance waned during the age of exploration and settlement abroad. By 1798, when Napoleon Bonaparte, driven by Alexandrian delusions of grandeur, had embarked on a campaign east towards Egypt, it took a mere ruse to topple the once-mighty Knights and seize Malta. Seized soon thereafter by the British navy, it remained in British hands well into the 20th century.