Luxembourg during the Belgian Insurrection 1790

Started by bart, January 24, 2010, 09:47:48 PM

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This morning I visited the International coin show in Gent. I went early, as the last time I attended this show, I met Peter and Geert and as time went by, we had to hurry to look at the dealer's tables before the show closed.

I found some interesting (not always beautiful) coins. Amongst them was this well worn 3 sols 1790 KM#16.
It has been struck in billon and shows the titles of emperor Leopold II: LEOP(oldus) II D(ei) G(ratia) HV(ngaria et) BO(hemia) REX DVX LVXEMB(urgensis), meaning Leopold II, by the grace of God king of Hungary and Bohemia, duke of Luxembourg.
The mint mark is special: it is a H, mintmark of the Gunzburg Mint.
During Austrian times, all circulation issues prior to 1790 were minted at the Brussels Mint. But during the Insurrection of 1790 the Habsburg lands in the Southern Netherlands (with the exception of Luxemburg) declared their independence of emperor Joseph II. They formed the United Belgian Republic on January 11, 1790. A month later, February 20, 1790, the emperor died and was succeeded by his brother Leopold II. In Luxemburg the new coins (1 sol, 3 sols, 6 sols) with the titles of the new emperor couldn't be minted in Brussels and were hence struck at the Gunzburg Mint.
At the end of 1790 the Austrians succeeded in regaining their territories in the Southern Netherlands, but they lost them again in 1795 to France (this time including the duchy of Luxembourg).



The title of Bohemia is somewhat ironic. On this coin, it belongs to the German emperor. However, it once was a fief of the house of Luxembourg. Before the ascent of the house of Habsburg, Bohemia was probably the richest and most powerful state of the German empire. It went under in a long drawn out religious war.

Maybe the best known ruler of Bohemia from the house of Luxembourg was John the blind. He owes his celebrity status to errors and compounded foolishness.

In the hundred years war, a French and an English army met at Crécy, where the French army was decisively beaten by English archers and good strategy of Edward III as well as a series of bad strategy decisions from Philippe VI, though the victory is usually awarded to Edward, the black prince, who was only 16 in 1346. The French army was so sure it would rout the English that the only question was, who would profit most from the ransoms. John probably didn't want to leave the battlefield without his share, so he ordered his bodyguard to take him to the front, where it could be expected that English noblemen would like to surrender to the rich count, who'd treat them well while waiting for the ransom to arrive. No one knew or told him the English were holding up well and the French had already suffered devastating losses. The guards were ordered to tie their horses to his, so he wouldn't wander off dangerously.

The arrangements were lethal. The group lost speed and the flexibility to turn, while at the front, arrows were raining down on them. Fallen guards brought the group to a halt and English men-at-arms and pikemen killed horses and riders indiscriminately. John had managed to kill himself and all his household knights. For some reason, this counted as gallant. Luxembourg devoted its first pseudo coins to him and in Crécy, there is a separate statue for him.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.