1755, Royal France, Louis XV. Silver Ecu (French Dollar) Coin. Béarn! Key-Date!
Mint Year: 1755 Denomination: Ecu Mintage: 207,000 pcs. Mint Place: Province of Béarn (BD) / Pau References: Davenport A1331, KM-518 (scarce date without valuation!) Condition: Mint-made weight-adjusting marks in obverse, lightly matted surfaces (caused by light corrosion - enironmental damage), otherwise about XF! Weight: 29.22gm Diameter: 42mm Material: Silver
Obverse: Draped bust of Louis XV left, privy mark below. Legend: LUD . XV . D . G . FR . . ET . NA . RE . BD . (.tulip.) Reverse: Crown above oval with three fleur de lis inside, flanked by olive branches. Legend: SIT NOMEN . DOMINI (cow) BENEDICTUM (sheaf of wheat) 1755
For your consideration a nice early dollar sized silver coin, struck in France (Province of Béarn) during 1768 under Louis XV of France.
The viscountcy of Béarn (Gascon: Bearn or Biarn) is a former province of France, located in the Pyreneesmountains and in the plain at their feet, in southwest France. Along with thethree Basque provinces of Soule, Lower Navarre, and Labourd, as well as small parts of Gascony, it forms the current département of Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64).
Béarn is bordered by Basque provinces Soule and Lower Navarre to the west, by Gascony (Landes and Armagnac) to the north, by Bigorre to the east, and by Spain (Aragon) to the south.
Although Béarn was included in the original borders of France as established by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, its inclusion in the kingdom was controversial. Its first parliamentary body, the Cour Major, was formed in 1080, 185 years before England's parliament. Bearn became a part of the Duchy of Aquitaine, which passed to the Kings of England through Eleanor of Aquitaine, and was thus subject to the Kingdom of England for a little over a century (1242-1347). Béarn passed to the county of Foix in 1290; in 1347 Count Gaston III Fébus paid homage to the king for his own county, but refused to give homage for Béarn, which he claimed as an independent fief, with its chief seat his stronghold at Pau, a site that had been fortified by the 11th century, which was made the official capital the seat of Béarn Province in 1464. Later, the territory passed through heiresses to the Kingdom of Navarre (see below), and this inclusion in a foreign state (though ruled by descendants of the French Capetian dynasty) contributed to its doubtful relationship to the Kingdom of France.
Eventually, Béarn fell to Henry III of Navarre, who inherited it from his mother, while at the same time the Kingdom of Navarre was almost entirely annexed by Spain (with only Lower Navarre, north of the Pyrenees, not annexed by Spain). Henry III of Navarre became King Henry IV of France in 1589, but he kept all his estates distinct from France. It was only in 1607 that he conceded to the demands of the Parlement of Paris, and reunited with the French crown his domains of County of Foix, Bigorre, Quatre-Vallées, and Nébouzan, conforming to the tradition that the king of France would have no personal domain. However, he refused to unite Béarn and Lower Navarre with the French crown, since these territories were sovereign countries, not formally under French sovereignty like Foix, Bigorre, and his other estates.
Thus Béarn and Lower Navarre remained only in a personal union with France (i.e. united to France through the person of Henry, both King of France and King of Navarre). It was only in 1620, ten years after his death, that Béarn and Lower Navarre were united to the French crown and entered French sovereignty, but the title of King of Navarre was kept by the kings of France until 1830.
Previously, in 1539, the Edict of Villers-Cotteret had ordained that laws would be enacted in French (to the detriment of Latin and smaller local languages), but Béarn was not yet part of France and the edict did not apply there. Instead, after its incorporation into France, laws continued to be enacted in the langue d'oc until the French Revolution.
Louis XV (Versailles, 15 February 1710 – Versailles, 10 May 1774) ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1 September 1715 until his death on 10 May 1774. Coming to the throne at the age of five, Louis reigned until 15 February 1723, the date of his thirteenth birthday, with the aid of the Régent, Philippe, duc d'Orléans, his great-uncle, thereafter taking formal personal control of government.
Unexpectedly surviving the death of most of the royal family, he enjoyed a favourable reputation at the beginning of his reign and earned the epithet "le Bien-Aimé" ("the Beloved"). However, in time, his lack of morals, general inability to effectively reform France and the Monarchy, and the perceived failings of his foreign policy lost him the affection of his people, and he ended his life amongst the most unpopular kings of France.
While historians have traditionally treated Louis XV harshly, more recent research has suggested that he was in fact very intelligent and dedicated to the task of ruling the largest state in Europe, bar Russia. His nagging indecision, fueled by his awareness of the complexity of problems ahead, as well as his profound timidity, hidden behind the mask of an imperious king, may account for the poor results achieved during his reign. In many ways, Louis XV prefigures the "bourgeois rulers" of the romantic 19th century. While dutifully playing the role of the mighty king carved out by his predecessor and great-grandfather, Louis XIV, Louis XV in fact cherished nothing more than his private life far away from the pomp and ceremony of Court. Having lost his mother while still little more than an infant, he longed for a reassuring and motherly presence, which he tried to find in the intimate company of women, something for which he was much criticized both during and after his life.
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