The Government & Treasury of Ascension Island have issued a new gold & silver coin which marks the 200th anniversary of the exile to Saint Helena of the Emperor of the French, Napoleon Bonaparte. Also known as Napoleon I, he was a French military leader and eventual French emperor who conquered much of Europe in the early 19th Century. Born on the island of Corsica, Napoleon rose quickly through the military ranks during the French Revolution. After seizing political power in France in 1799, he crowned himself Emperor in 1804. Ambitious, shrewd and a skilled military strategist, he successfully waged war against various coalitions of European nations and expanded his empire. Creating new kingdoms and installing members of his immediate family on some of Europe’s most established and oldest thrones, Napoleon seemed destined to rule the continent and perhaps expand his rule overseas. However, after a disastrous French invasion of Russia in 1812, Napoleon was compelled to abdicate the throne two years later and was initially exiled to the island of Elba.
In February 1815, after less than a year in exile, Napoleon escaped Elba and sailed to France with a group of supporters seeking to restore the Emperor and the empire. In March he returned to Paris where he was welcomed by cheering crowds. King Louis XVIII, the Bourbon King whose family had been toppled in 1791 following the French revolution and who had been called back to the French throne after Napoleon’s abdication – fled the capital and Napoleon began what became known as his Hundred Days campaign. Upon his return to France, a coalition of allies (Austrians, British, Prussians and Russians), who considered the French Emperor an enemy began to prepare for war. Napoleon raised a new army and planned to strike before the allies could launch a united attack against him. In June 1815, Napoleon’s forces invaded Belgium, where British and Prussian troops were stationed. Napoleon’s troops defeated the Prussians at the Battle of Ligny but two days later, on 18th June 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo, the French were crushed by the British with assistance from the Prussians. On 22nd June 1815 Napoleon was once again forced to abdicate. In October 1815, Napoleon was finally exiled to the remote, British-held island of St Helena, which at the time was part of the British Overseas Territory which included Ascension Island. It is here where the former emperor died on the 5th May 1821 at the age of 51. Napoleon was initially interred on Saint Helena, but the Orleans King Louis-Philippe arranged for his remains to be brought to France in 1840 where they now rest in the tomb at L’Hôtel national des Invalides in Paris.
The coins, produced by the Pobjoy Mint, UK on behalf of the Government of Ascension Island includes an image on the reverse side of the coin which is based on a well-known portrait of Napoleon seated upon a rearing horse and is produced in striking High Relief. The obverse of the coin carries an effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS.
|1 Crown||.999 silver||31.1 grams||38.6 mm.||Proof||1815 pieces|
|1 Crown||.999 gold||31.1 grams||33.7 mm.||Proof||500 pieces|
Available in Proof Fine Silver and Proof Fine Gold, both produced in High Relief, each coin is struck four times to display finely sculpted frosted detail contrasting with mirror brilliant background. The Proof High Relief Gold version is being marketed exclusively by Asset Marketing Services, LLC in the United States.
For more information on this and other coins issued from the Government of Ascension Island, please visit the website of the Pobjoy Mint at: http://www.pobjoy.com/products/commemorative-coins/new-releases?orderby=date|title&sort=desc|asc Information offered in English – international orders dispatched.