Reference: KM-34. Mint Place: London Denomination: Lepton Mint Year: 1857 (without dot!) Condition: Light contact-marks, otherwise about XF! Material: Copper Diameter: 16mm Weight: 1.83gm
Obverse: Nimbate and winged lion of St. Mark left, holding book of gospels and arrows in right paw. Dot after date! Legend: IONIKON KPATOS 1857
Reverse: Helmeted togate personificantion of Britannia seated right, holding trident and leaning on British shield beneath her. Legend: BRITANNIA .
The United States of the Ionian Islands (Enomenon Kratos ton Ionion Neson; Italian: Stati Uniti delle Isole Ionie) was a state and amical protectorate of the United Kingdom between 1815 and 1864. It is located in modern Greece, to whom it was ceded as a gift of the United Kingdom to the newly enthroned King George I, at the end of the protectorate.
Prior to the French Revolutionary Wars, the Ionian Islands had been part of the Republic of Venice. With the dissolution of that polity under the 1797 Treaty of Campo Formio, it was annexed into the French Republic. Between 1798 and 1799, the French were driven out by a joint Russo-Turkish force. The occupying forces founded the Septinsular Republic, which lasted from 1800 until 1807.
The Ionian Islands were then re-annexed by the French into the Illyrian Provinces. In 1809, the United Kingdom defeated the French fleet off Zakynthos on 2 October, and captured Kefalonia, Kythira, and Zakynthos. The British took Lefkada in 1810. Corfu remained under French rule until 1814.
The Congress of Vienna agreed to place the Ionian Islands under the exclusive "amical protection" of the United Kingdom. Despite British military administration, the Austrian Empire was guaranteed commercial status equal to the UK. The arrangement was solidifed with the ratification of the "Maitland constitution" on 26 August 1817, which created a federation of the seven islands, with Sir Thomas Maitland its first High Commissioner.
On 29 March 1864, the United Kingdom, Greece, France, and Russia signed the Treaty of London, pledging the transfer of sovereignty to Greece upon ratification; this was meant to bolster the reign of the newly-installed King George I of Greece. Thus, on 28 May, by proclamation of the Lord High Commissioner, the Ionian Islands were united with Greece.
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