Skip to content Skip to footer

Admiral Nelson

In early 1800s, French soldiers, under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte, reorganized their fleet in the port of Toulon, ready to resume their attempt to expand and conquer. British Admiral Horathio Nelson therefore had the need to find an operational base from which to shield the passage into the Mediterranean and to prevent the French enemies from moving forward towards Egypt. After casting aside Malta and Sicily, La Maddalena’s strategic position seemed ideal, so he decided to ask his government to take over the military occupation of Sardinia, considered perfect for the control over Mediterranean sea.

“If we can own Sardinia, we would no longer need Malta or any other place: it’s certainly the most important island in the Mediterranean: it has for sure, at its northern end, the most beautiful port in the world.” … “If I lose Sardinia I lose the French fleet.”

Montebello21 ✓ L'Ammiraglio Horatio Nelson nell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena

On November 1, 1803, the citizens of La Maddalena saw the entrance into the estuary of the English fleet, made up of 13 ships and about 2.000 men. All the island gained huge economic benefits from the ships supply and the crazy expenses of sailors, but there were daily problems with public order, also accentuated by the presence of young, beautiful Sardinian women. Nevertheless, Nelson found in La Maddalena commander Agostino Millelire a great friend and a strong ally in the management of this difficult situation. Their understanding went far beyond any political game.

In October 1804 Nelson commissioned Reverend Alexander Scott to deliver a large crucifix and two silver candlestick holders to Santa Maria Maddalena’s Church’s parish priest as a tangible sign of his gratitude:

“I have to request that I may be allowed to present to the church at Madalena a piece of church plate as a small token of my esteem for the worthy inhabitants, and of my remembrance of the hospitable treatment His Majesty’s fleet under my command has often received from them. May God Bless us all. I remain Revd. Sir Your most obedient servant Nelson & Bronte The Revd. Dr. Scott will present it to you The Revd. The Superior of the Church at Madalena.”

Admiral Nelson Sources and Insights

La Maddalena


Admiral Nelson