Windmills of Malta

Welcome to the website of the windmills of Malta and Gozo.
There have been a lot of windmills on Malta and on Gozo. At least 69 stone windmills. Almost all the windmills were grain mills. There were about 54 on Malta and 15 on Gozo. Only 3 of these mills have still sails.

Allready in 1530 there was a windmill on Malta and in 1565 two. Those were postmills in what now is Senglea. The technology was introduced by the Knight of St John from Rhodes, which they had occupied from 1309 to 1523.

Nearly all the windmills have been built by the Knigts of Saint John. Most of there windmills were built from 1663-1773. But there were built by Lascaris ( 1636-1657) namely 4 on Malta and 1 on Gozo.

Grandmaster Nicolas Cottoner 1663-1680) and his brother Rafael ( 1660-1663) have built the mills in Bormla ,Zebbug , Floriana (2) ,Naxxar and Zurrieq. Later they have built the mills in Lija ,Zejtun ,Gudja and another one in Zebbug. The technology of these windmills was introduced from the Balearic Islands. Cotoner came from those islands
Another builder was Antonio Manoel de Vilhena ( 1722-1736) . he had built 5 mills namely in Rabat, Ghargur ,Zurrieq , Birkirkara , and one between Ghaxag and Zejtun.
About 1726 3 mills were built on Gozo and one in Naxxar.
At that time there were 16 windmills in operation. In 1826 there were 26 on Malta and 5 on Gozo.
The mill in Zejtun was still in operation in 1939.

An interesting fact is that every windmill was in sight of its neighbours from the openings in the tower, so that the miller could see whether the orthers were working or not. This situation might have made windmills a part of a communication and defence system.

After 1838 ended the monopoly on windmills of the Government. Everybody was allowed to build a windmill. A lot of windmills were built from that date.

Most of the mills were allready relicts in 1900 in consequence of the appaerance of steam mills. That type of mills develop progressively round Grand Harbour.

Almost all the windmills have the same buildingplan. The tower ( tromba) is surrounded by a stone quadrangular building. The tower is 3 metres in diameter and is 15 metres high. The main entrance gave access to a hall. On both sides of the hall were two rooms, one for the reception of grain and the other for the storage of floor. Behind the hall was the entrance to the tower and the about 50 circular steps in the tower. The room behind the hall and the rooms on the first floor were used by the miller and its family.

The mechanism inside was of a normal type and was located at the top of the tower. Mostly it operated one pair of grinding stones.

The website will include all the windmills of Malta and Gozo : the mills in function , the relicts and the mills disappeared. If you have additional data, such as year of building, year of dismantling etc, please send me.

If you have any photos or old picture postcards that I can use, please send me a message.