1897, Philippines, Alfonso XIII of Spain. Large Silver Peso Coin.
Mint Year: 1897
Mint Place: Valencia
Denomination: 1 Peso
Material: Silver (.900)
Obverse: Young head of Alfonso XIII as a boy left. Engraver´s initials (B.M.) below bust´s truncation.
Legend: ALFONSO XIII – POR L. G. D. D. REY C. DE ESPANA * 1897 *
Reverse: Crowned Spanish arms between the Pillars of Hercules adorned with PLVS VLTRA motto.
Legend: ISLAS FILIPINAS (S.G.) UN PESO (V.)
The beginnings of colonization started to take form when Philip II of Spain ordered successive expeditions. Miguel López de Legazpi arrived from Mexico in 1565 and formed the first Spanish settlements in Cebu. In 1571 he established Manila as the capital of the Spanish East Indies.
Spanish rule brought political unification to an archipelago of previously independent islands and communities which later became the Philippines, and introduced elements of western civilization such as the code of law, printing and the Gregorian calendar. The Philippines was ruled as a territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1565 to 1821, but after Mexico gained independence from Spain, the islands were administered directly from Madrid, Spain. During that time numerous towns were founded, infrastructures built, new crops and livestock introduced, and trade flourished. The Manila Galleon which linked Manila to Acapulco once or twice a year beginning in the late 16th century, carried silk, spices, ivory and porcelain to the Americas and silver from Mexico on the return trip to the Philippines. The Spanish military fought off various native revolts, and several external threats, especially from the British, Chinese pirates, Dutch, and Portuguese. Roman Catholic missionaries converted most of the inhabitants to Christianity, and founded numerous schools, universities and hospitals. In 1863 a Spanish decree introduced public education, creating free public schooling in Spanish.
Alfonso XIII (Alfonso León Fernando María Jaime Isidro Pascual Antonio de Borbón y Austria-Lorena; anglicised: Alphonse Leon Ferdinand Mary James Isidor Pascal Anthony of Bourbon and Austria-Lorraine) (Madrid, 17 May 1886 – Rome, 28 February 1941), King of Spain, posthumous son of Alfonso XII of Spain, was proclaimed King at his birth. He reigned from 1886-1931. His mother, Queen Maria Christina, was appointed regent during his minority. In 1902, on attaining his 16th year, the King assumed control of the state.
Although Alfonso’s reign would not end well, it began well. The French newspaper Figaro described the young king as "the happiest and best loved of all the rulers of the earth."
When he came of age in 1902, the week of his attainng his majority was marked by a week of festivities, bullfights, balls and receptions throughout Spain.
During his reign Spain lost its last colonies in the Americas (Cuba and Puerto Rico) and the Philippines; fought and, after several setbacks, won a war in Morocco; witnessed the start of the Spanish Generation of 1927, and endured the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera, which ultimately cost him the throne.
During the First World War, because of his family connections with both sides and the division of popular opinion, Spain remained neutral. The king ran an office for captives from the Palacio de Oriente, that leveraged the Spanish diplomatic and military network abroad to intercede for thousands of prisoners of war, receiving and answering letters from all Europe.
He was a promoter of tourism in Spain. The problems with the lodging of his wedding guests prompted the construction of the luxury Hotel Palace in Madrid. He also supported the creation of a network of state-run lodges (Parador) in historic buildings of Spain. His fondness for the sport of football led to the patronage of several “royal” football clubs like Real Sociedad, Real Madrid, Real Betis and Real Unión.
When the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed on 14 April 1931, he fled and left Spain, but did not abdicate the throne. He settled eventually in Rome where he lived in the Grand Hotel.
Once the Spanish Civil War broke out, Alfonso made it clear he favoured the military uprising against the Popular Front government, but General Francisco Franco in September 1936 declared that the Nationalists would never accept Alfonso as king (the supporters of the rival Carlist pretender made up an important part of the Franco army). First he went into exile in France. Nevertheless, he sent his son Juan de Borbon, Count of Barcelona to enter Spain in 1936 and participate in the uprising. However, near the French border, General Mola had him arrested and expelled from the country.
On 15 January 1941, Alfonso XIII abdicated his rights to the Spanish throne in favour of his third (of four), but second surviving, son Juan, father of the current king Juan Carlos. He died in Rome a month-and-a-half later.
The Spanish government ordered three days of national mourning. His funeral was held in Rome in the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. He was buried in the Church of Santa Maria in Monserrato, the Spanish national church in Rome, immediately below the tombs of Pope Calixtus III and Pope Alexander VI. In January 1980 his remains were transferred to El Escorial in Spain.