Valetta (Italian La Valeta), the capital of the island of Malta, stands on a promontory between two bays on the N.E. coast, and is surrounded by strong fortifications. The site is so uneven that many streets are mere stairways, but it contains several fine buildings, e.g. the palace of the old Grand Masters of the Knights Templars, the cathedral, and the hospital of St. John. The town was founded in 1566 by the Grand Master Parisot de la Valetta. It was taken by Bonaparte in 1798, and wrested from him after a siege of two years by the English, who still hold it.