What is "Cottonera"?
The term Cottonera is a collective description of the fortified cities of Birgu, Isla, Bormla and Kalkara in Malta. The Cottonera Lines (Is-Swar tal-Kottonera), also known as the Valperga Lines, are a line of the fortifications in these cities. They were built in the 17th and 18th centuries to form the outer defences of the so called "Three cities" (Birgu, Isla and Bormla). These Cottonera lines are the border between the "Three cities" and Kalkara. They surrounded an earlier line of fortifications, known as the Santa Margherita Lines. Nicolas Cotoner (Nicolau Cotoner i d'Olesa), born 1608 on the spanish island Mallorca, was Grand Master of the Order of Malta between 1663 and 1680. He improved the fortifications due to fears of an Ottoman attack and funded the construction of the Cottonera lines which were named in his honour. Cotoner's reign also saw the construction of Fort Ricasoli in Kalkara which is one of the reasons that Kalkara is often included as part of the Cottonera.