The Grimaldi Family and the Knights of Malta

The Knights of Malta have taken our dear cousin’s ship and has presently stated that he shall be sent into slavery. Because of this, our dearest cousin has petitioned for our consul to present evidence that he was taken captive in a manner that is not within the legal sphere of the Knights of Malta. I have advised our consul to present the forthwith evidence to the Tribunale degli Armamenti. Our dearest cousin states that he was within sight of land that was until recently held by our Venetian brethren. The consul has assured us that our dearest cousin, with our ship and invested goods, were within the borders of the Venetian state because the war was not over at that time. 
Further recollection of the procedural and evidentiary rules of the Tribunale reminds us that because our dearest cousin is of the Christian faith, he was not supposed to be threatened by the Knights of Malta. The priest of his parish has sent a notarized letter with our consul stating that our dearest cousin is of the Christian faith as were his parents and their parents before. He is also part of a community that worships in the manner prescribed by the Pope, and has never faltered in his faith nor has he been tempted by the Muslims in the Ottoman Empire in his travels through the Eastern Mediterranean. The Knights of Malta should find this evidence sufficient and release our dear cousin at once.
Our family will be petitioning the Pope because this act by his mercenaries of the sea has caused our family much grief and heartache while we wait for word on the condition of our dear cousin. Not only has our dear cousin suffered under the hands of a supposed Christian organization, our goods have been left to falter in the hull of his ship and this has caused our family to lose a large investment.
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The Grimaldi Family and the Greek Mediterranean

It has come to my attention, while reviewing the entries in the family banking records, that the merchant we have been in recent trade negotiations with had brought upon this family a legal issue in the form of a lawsuit. The records indicate that our dearest uncle had loaned the merchant money for his travels through our region to trade with the Ottoman Empire. However, this merchant failed to return to the great city of Genoa with goods, a return of payment, or even a ship to speak of. For this, our family sued the merchant on three accounts: one, that said merchant had allowed his ship to be detained by the Knights of Malta; two, that the merchant did not disclose that his Orthodox religion was reason to be detained by the Knights of Malta; and three, the lawsuit was brought under the pretenses that our great Grimaldi family had right to bring the merchant to suit under the law of the Knights of Malta as the ship was captured in their territory and our great family has members in the Knights of Malta.  This merchant should not be trusted under any circumstances. Our great family placed our trust in his word some twenty years ago, however, our family has decided to only lend money to those of our faith as only those people can be trusted under the Christian faith. If it were not for our glorious cousin, crusading for God with the Knights of Malta, this family would have had no hope of ever seeing our investment brought home to Genoa. It is only through our dearest cousin that the lawsuit could be negotiated in our favor and our investment returned with compensation for the troubles we incurred trying to navigate the legal system of the Knights of
Malta.

Grimaldi Family 2, 1600

Our coffers are full and the lenders are pleased with the results of trade, but there is some
troubling news from our merchants in Constantinople.1  Our century’s long rivalry with Venice
over Galata has come to an end, seemingly for a final time.2  There are few of us left in this port
and the legacy we have developed since the Byzantine influence has been destroyed completely.
One by one, we see our buildings being taken over and even our greatest achievement in Galata,
the tower overlooking every point of the great city, has left our hands and there is no hope for a
Genoese recovery at the Golden Horn.3  We Grimaldi have been one of the greatest families to
step foot onto the shores of Constantinople, yet there are but a few Genovese left in the city.  The
Latin-Rite community that we claim is being persecuted and our people have been driven out by
the Turks and have left us no choice but to draw out of Galata and take our trade to another city
that is more welcoming of our presence.
The Magnifica Comunità meets still, but our people struggle with daily existence and we
see no reason to stay in this empire.4  Even the Magnifica sees no reason to keep our council well in the city and they have replaced our podesta with their own council of twelve.5 We will let the Muslims have their control and we will not interfere any longer. With Constantinople overrun by heathens, we cannot, as good Catholics, see cause to remain.6 While we regret not being able to move freely between the Mediterranean and Black Seas, the spiritual health of our people is more important.
5 Eric Dursteler, Venetians in Constantinople: Nation, Identity, and Coexistence in the Early Modern Mediterranean (Johns Hopkins University Press: Johns Hopkins, 2006): 142.

Family Grimaldi 2, 1490

July 1490
There has been much stirring in our fair city. I received word today that our dearest sister has succeeded in having our territory to the west declared sovereign late in the last year, praise be to God and thanks be to King Charles VIII, which has freed our family from the burden of the French. This news brings us much happiness as we still languish here in fair Genoa under the thumb of the Milanese and French oppressors who have not allowed us to reassert our sovereignty, yet. Still, at least, we hold their coin and their ships.  Business is thriving and word has spread about the fortunes of our great family. Many explorers come with a begging hand to ask for sponsorships, including a persistent and bothersome man named Cristoforo Colombo. He has tried to threaten our family’s fortunes by stating that he will seek funding elsewhere for his foolish quest for a faster route to India. Let the fool beg the Spanish for we have no funding for a lost cause.  I see nothing in the foreseeable future that could harm our great family. Our branches are spreading out, our relatives’ holdings are being recognized, the coffers are full, and the Frenchmen beg us on knee for funding. We have nothing to lose and much to gain on this trajectory. We will always be the great and powerful Grimaldi.
Notes.