With their expulsion by Napoleon’s forces at the beginning of the nineteenth century the Knights of Malta again found themselves homeless after spending centuries building their island kingdom. However it would only take a few decades before the Order would be able to establish their new headquarters in Rome, who returned to their origins making hospital work and welfare activities its primary concern; which would be greatly expanded during both world wars. Now better known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta the hospitallers are one of the world’s oldest surviving chivalric orders and is recognized by numerous international bodies and even enjoys observer status in the United Nations. Issuing its own passports, currency, stamps and even license plates, the Order today has a permanent presence in 120 countries supporting the operations of hospitals, medical centres, day care centres, first aid corps, with especial emphasis on helping victims of armed conflicts and natural disasters.
Recently the Sovereign Military Order of Malta established a mission in Malta after signing an agreement with the Maltese Government that granted them exclusive use of Fort St. Angelo for 99 years. Since its restoration the Fort now hosts historical and cultural activities related to the Knights of Malta.