The talk yesterday was given by Anna Borg Cardona, who is a University of Southampton PhD researcher working out of Malta. She gave a very interesting presentation on 17th-century trade routes in Malta, as seen through the lens of instrument maker Mattheo Morales.
Morales was born in 1637 in Valletta, which was a new harbour city of the Maltese Islands. Valletta at the time was the seat of the Order of the Knights of Saint John and was therefore a busy hub port. Morales died without a will, which is lucky for Anna as an inventory of his goods was drawn up immediately after his death. The documentary evidence for Morales’ business life has survived well (with the exception of his account book that would show where he sold his instruments), which has allowed Anna to trace the materials he used for his instruments, as well as the investments he took part in with seafaring men who travelled far and wide across the Mediterranean. One
Conversation flowed easily with Anna and the session’s attendees. This project has many interesting elements to it, all of which were highlighted with the wide range of questions. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed that she finds Mattheo Morales’ missing account book!