Seaport city (pop., 2007 est.: 6,154), capital of Malta. It is located on a rocky promontory with harbours on either side. Built after the Great Siege of Malta (1565), which checked the advance of Ottoman power in southern Europe, it was named after Jean Parisot de la Valette, grand master of the Knights of Malta. It became the Maltese capital in 1570. After 1814 it was made the principal base of the British Mediterranean naval fleet and remained important through World War II, during which it suffered heavy damage from bombing raids. Several 16th-century buildings still exist. The city's economy relies mainly on trade and tourism.