Written by Joshua Horn on Friday, February 22, 2013
Written by Joshua Horn on Saturday, February 16, 2013
|King Philip V|
When Spain settled the New World they found mines which yielded vast riches. But those riches had to be shipped back to Spain and taxed 20%. To do this, in America they were made into temporary coins, called macuquinas or cobs. Instead of rolling the metal into a smooth sheet, the cobs were just cut off of a bar at their approximate weight and then hand struck in a rough die. Roughly made, they were only in this form temporarily until they could be melted down in Spain and turned into coins or jewelry. Some cobs, however, did circulate as currency making their way to the Spanish colonies. This brought numerous problems. Since they were of such poor quality, a little metal could easily be clipped off without anyone noticing, because their shape was already irregular. This produced coins that were significantly lighter than the originals.
This particular coin, which I bought a few weeks ago, was minted during the reign of Philip V, between 1700 and 1746. When King Charles II of Spain died in 1700 without any children, he named Philip, the grandson of his half sister, his heir. The succession of the Spanish kings at the time was very complex. Philip was the first member of the House of Bourbon to become king of France. Bourbon is a French family, but Philip had attained the kingship through the marriage of his grandmother to King Louis XIV of France. To avoid an international crisis because of a powerful alliance, Philip upon becoming King of Spain had to renounce all claims to the kingship of France. Interestingly enough, upon becoming King of Spain, the 17 year old Philip had not yet learned Spanish.
|Philip riding into battle|
Although the English and Dutch had not opposed Philip when he became king, the next year the War of Spanish Succession broke out because they feared that France and Spain would be united under one Bourbon monarch. The Holy Roman Empire, with Great Britain, the Dutch and parts of Spain loyal to the House of Habsburg fought against France and the rest of Spain under Philip. The war finally ended in 1713 when Philip renounced all claim to the throne of France. This costly war sped up the decline of the Spanish empire.
|King Louis I|
In 1724 Philip abdicated his throne to his 17 year old son Louis. The reasons for this are still debated. It may be that he hoped to obtain the kingdom of France, or he may have been gradually going insane and become unfit to rule. Either way it did not last long. Within the year his son died of smallpox, and he resumed the kingship as he had no other son old enough to take the kingdom. Although Spain had been very rich because of the precious medals obtained from the New World, by this time they were in serious financial difficulty. Thousands of servants were employed at the palace while the rest of the government went without pay for months. The government was only kept going by the treasure ships coming from America, one this coin may well have been on. Spain effectively went bankrupt in 1739 by refusing payment on its debts. Philip died in July, 1746 after the longest reign in modern Spanish history.
You can get coins like this one very inexpensively on ebay.
Written by Joshua Horn on Friday, February 15, 2013
I went to this year's San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival this past weekend for the showing of one of the episodes from our DVD series Discerning History: Causes of the Civil War. Here are some pictures taken along the way:
|Doug Phillips opening the festival|
|Charlie Zahm and Tad Marks|
|The Wintons and Phillips|