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Admiral Ushakov, Admiral Nelson and the Island of Malta

Admiral Ushakov, Admiral Nelson and the Island of Malta

 by Dr Philip MacDougall

on Monday 23rd October 2023 at 6:30pm

at St Dominic’s Priory, Rabat

The event is kindly sponsored by The Alfred Mizzi Foundation



Both Russian and earlier Soviet naval historians are critical of Britain’s most famous naval flag officer, Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, seeing him as an ultra-nationalist who despised Russia and possessing both in his private and public actions a character of questionable morality. In doing so, they contrast him with their own famous flag officer, Admiral Fyodor Ushakov, a name who is venerated in Russia and has more recently ascended to the heights of sainthood. In contrast with Nelson, they see Ushakov as having worked for the betterment of Europe, not just Russia, and who is regarded as an impeccable moral character. The lecture will explore this dichotomy, and the central role of Malta in the development of those Russian views towards Nelson. It was Britain’s naval blockade of Malta, and Nelson’s attitude towards Ushakov (who was then commanding an allied Russian squadron) that is the heart of Russia’s disapproval of Nelson and their high regard for Ushakov.



Dr Philip MacDougall is an independent historian whose work focuses on the eighteenth century and the development of navies for the projection of geo-political power. His publications include books examining the navies of the various Islamic sea powers of the eighteenth century, the navies of Great Britain, the Russian Empire, and the pre-colonial states of India. Recognizing that power at sea is mediated by stages of economic and industrial development existing within a nation or state, Philip makes a close connection between the creation of a powerful blue-water navy and a shore-based infrastructure that keeps a nation’s navy afloat. The more advanced the nation, the more technically advanced its naval infrastructure and the navy it supports. Here, Portsmouth, and the other naval yards of Great Britain, are of significance in underwriting Britain’s power at sea. During the eighteenth century, others, such as Russia and the Ottoman Empire drew heavily upon industrial advances witnessed within British naval yards. A frequent contributor to Mariners Mirror, and other journals, Philip’s talk is loosely based on two of his books, London and the Georgian Navy(2013) and The Anglo-Russian Naval Alliance of the Eighteenth Century and Beyond (2022).

Admiral Ushakov, Admiral Nelson and the Island of Malta

Speaker: Dr Philip MacDougall 

October 23, 2023 @ 18:30
6:30 pm — 8:00 pm (1h 30′)

Admiral Ushakov, Admiral Nelson and the Island of Malta