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1768, Royal France, Louis XVI. Large Silver Ecu (French Dollar) Coin. Pau mint!


Mint Year: 1768 Denomination: Ecu  (French Dollar) Mint Place: Province of Bearn (BD) / Pau References: Davenport 1334, Gadoury 356a, KM-572. Condition: Weight-adjusting marks in obverse, otherwise about XF! Local Engraver: Pierre Joseph Duviver (1759-1794, privy mark: sheaf of wheat) Weight: 28.93gm  Diameter: 41mm Material: Silver 

Obverse: Head of Louis XV left, privy mark (privy mark: flower) below. Legend: LUD . XVI . D . G . FR . . ET . NA . RE . BD .   Reverse: Crown above oval with three fleur de lis inside, flanked by olive branches. Legend: SIT NOMEN . DOMINI (privy mark: cow) BENEDICTUM (privy mark: sheaf of wheat) 1768 .

The viscountcy of Bearn (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 departement of Pyrenees-Atlantiques (64).

Bearn 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 Bearn 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). Bearn passed to the county of Foix in 1290; in 1347 Count Gaston III Febus paid homage to the king for his own county, but refused to give homage  for Bearn, 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 Bearn 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, Bearn 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-Vallees, and Nebouzan,  conforming to the tradition that the king of France would have no  personal domain. However, he refused to unite Bearn 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 Bearn 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 Bearn 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 Bearn 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 XVI or Louis-Auguste   de France (Versailles, 23 August 1754 - Paris, 21 January   1793) ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1774 until 1791, and   then as King of the French from 1791 to 1793. Suspended and arrested   during the Insurrection of 10 August, he was tried by the National   Convention, found guilty of treason, and executed by guillotine on 21   January 1793. He was the only king of France to be executed.

Although Louis was beloved at first, his   indecisiveness and conservatism led some elements of the people of   France to eventually view him as a symbol of the perceived tyranny of   the Ancien Regime. After the abolition of the monarchy in 1793, the new   republican government gave him the surname Capet, a reference to the   nickname of Hugh Capet, founder of the Capetian dynasty, which the   revolutionaries wrongly interpreted as a family name. He was also   informally nicknamed Louis le Dernier (Louis the Last), a   derisive use of the traditional nicknaming of French kings. Today,   historians and French people in general have a more nuanced view of   Louis XVI, who is seen as an honest man with good intentions, but who   was probably unfit for the herculean task of reforming the monarchy, and   who was used as a scapegoat by the revolutionaries.

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