In June 1798, a French armada under the command of General Bonaparte
appeared on the horizon. Following a feeble resistance, the Knights
capitulated and the Maltese Islands fell under French rule.
The French carried out a number of reforms. However a number of
their measures caused resentment among the Maltese and no the 2nd
September 1798 the Maltese rose against the French. Within the space
of a few hours Mdina and the whole of the countryside fell into the
hands of the Maltese. Valletta, Floriana and the Forts Manoel and
Tignè remained in the hands of the French, who were beseiged by the
Maltese. The French Blockade lasted two years.
The Maltese insurgents set up a Provisional Government and set up
batteries at strategic points. Help was obtained from Naples and in
1799 following a request from the Maltese, the Maltese Islands were
placed under the special protection of His Brittanic Majesty.
The blockade ended in September 1800, and following the French
capitulation, the Maltese Islands were administered by the British
Government and Sir Alexander Ball was appointed by the first Civil
Hostilities between England and France came to an end in 1802, with
the Treaty of Amiens. According to this Treaty, the British were to
evacuate Malta which was to revert to the Order of St John. The
majority of the Maltese objected to this decision. Difficulties
ensued, the British did not evacuate Malta and in May 1803, war
broke out again between Britain and France.
During the Napoleonic Wars, Malta experienced an economic boom due
to the Continental System. The war between England and France came
to an end in 1814 and according to the Treaty of Paris (1814) the
Maltese Islands formally became part of the British Empire. The
artificial prosperity created by the War began to abate with its end
and further difficulties ensued in 1813 after an outbreak of plague
which killed 4,000 people.