Banker and merchant

The father of Emmanuele was Giuseppe Scicluna, who married Marianna Caruana on August 1807, and they had three boys: Michele Angelo, who became a priest; Giovanni Battista*, a successful businessman, and Emmanuele*, also a good businessman, a papal Marquis. In his time he was considered as one of the two wealthiest men in Malta.

In 1840, when Emmanuele was just 20 years, his father Giuseppe set up the firm 'Josef Scicluna et Fils, bankers and merchants'. His two sons joined the business and were to become prominent and seriously rich businessmen. When Giovanni Battista died in 1861, Emmanuele inherited his brother's business interests and estate. This was a substantial inheritance, and a handsome addition to his own portfolio of wealth. By this time Emmanuele became a prominent person on the Island: commercially, politically and socially.

In 1860 Scicluna, now 40, was elected to the Council of Government. He was re-elected in 1865 and in 1870, but he failed to be elected in 1875 and 1880.

In 1885 after a 22-year stint by Alfred Christian as president of the Chamber of Commerce, Marquis Scicluna replaced him. Emmanuele and his brother Giovanni Battista were founder members of the Chamber when this was established in 1848.

Despite the failure of Scicluna in cigar manufacture, an obituary notice three days after his  death, which appeared in the Daily Malta Chronicle of the 26 June, 1886, pointed out his immense fortune. The various enterprises with which Scicluna was connected included a bank, land and construction, shipping, and ownership of prestigious buildings such as Palazzo Correa in Old Bakery Street, Valletta,  the Dragonara Palace in St Julians, which Emmanuele built for his own recreation, Palazzo Parisio in Naxxar, the Balluta Buildings, and various sites in Sliema and St Julians.

Scicluna's philanthropy to church institutions was recognised by Pope Pius IX, who in 1875 created him Marquis 'ad personam', and in June of the same year the Pope gave his assent to Emmanuele, his wife, his nephew and his relatives to have Mass celebrated in their private chapels. Three years later, Pope Leo XIII, converted the Marquisate into a hereditary title for Emmanuele, his nephew Giuseppe. Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, and Giuseppe's first-born male heirs in perpetuity.

The 1st Marquis Scicluna died at his residence in Strada Forni (now Old Bakery Street, Valletta), and was buried at the Church of Minor Observances (Ta' Ġieżu), Valletta.

His wife Margherita Louis who survived him by eight years, died at her Gwardamangia residence on 5 July 1894.

This biography is part of the collection created by Michael Schiavone over a 30-year period. Read more about Schiavone and his initiative here.

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