A Coin tells a Story: Spain's last stand in Latin America

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Eduard, May 9, 2009.

  1. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter**

    Spain's last stand in latin America: The fortress of Real Felipe

    For most historians, the battle of Ayacucho fought in the Peruvian Andes on December 9th 1824 marked the end of 400 years of Spanish rule in Latin America. In that battle the Peruvian patriots aided by Colombian, Chilean and Argentinian troops under the joint command of General San Martin and of Simon Bolivar finally defeated the Spanish troops led the by Spanish Viceroy (Virrey) la Serna.

    A small nucleus of royalist resistance remained however in the capital Lima, and the port city of El Callao. There, the remaining Spanish troops under the command of General Canterac and Brigadier Jose Ramon Rodil refused to surrender the Port city and its fortress of Real Felipe. Soon, the spanish troops were joined by 8000 civilians, some Spanish and others Creoles who vowed to remain loyal to the spanish king.

    The Patriots encircled the port city and its fortress, laying a siege that was to last for one year. The 2800 soldiers of the spanish garrsion would not surrender the fortress, under the obstinate command of Jose Rodil, who still held out hope of receiving reinforcements from Spain. Rodil has gone down in history as a fiercely loyal commander who did not hesitate to execute any of his own soldiers or even civilians at the smallest sign of weakness, or of wavering loyalty to the crown.

    The reinforcements from Spain never arrived. The prolonged siege took a terrible toll of the besieged, who at the end were forced to eat the flesh of rats to survive. The situation was made worse by the treason of some spanish commanders who switched sides early in 1826 to join the patriot cause. After a year of siege, only 326 spanish soldiers, and a few hundred civilians remained, the rest having succumbed to scurvy, typhus, hunger and the continuous bombardment of the patriot army.

    Brigadier Rodil was finally forced to surrender the fortress of Real Felipe. He was honored by his captors as a man who obstinately defended the cause of his king, and was eventually released, returning to Spain. The fall of the Real Felipe marked the end of Spanish rule in Latin America.

    This coin bears witness to that siege: it is a Peru Libre 8 Reales coin of 1822, minted by the patriots in the capital city Lima, and countermaked by the royalists at El Callao with the Spanish crown and dated 1824.



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  3. byrd740

    byrd740 Numismatist

    Excelent! Great job on writing that. Thank you for the very informative history.:D
  4. De Orc

    De Orc Well-Known Member

    Great bit of history you have there and I have to say that the write up was equaly good :bow:
  5. acanthite

    acanthite ALIIS DIVES

    Very nice write up.
  6. ahearn

    ahearn Member

    Thanks for the bit of history and the pics. That's one of the more interesting countermarks I've seen. It's always nice when a coin represents some interesting history, beyond just being a good looking coin.
  7. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter**

    I am glad you all liked the story behind this coin.

    Here are some pictures of the Fuerte de Real Felipe I was able to find in the net. Worth a visit if you ever visit Peru.

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  8. (v)

    (v) Senior Member

    Nominated the post. Excellent writeup and very nice coin!
  9. dctjr80

    dctjr80 Senior Member

    That is an Awesome coin and story to go with its history, Well told and bravo!!!
  10. Carlos Jara

    Carlos Jara Junior Member

    later Spanish colonial issues in South America

    Very nice post! Just to add some bit of info: there were two necessity issues that were issued under Spanish monarchist authority later than 1824:
    - the Lima 2 Reales 1826 issued by Rodil (ex Medina collection)
    - the cast Chiloe 8 Reales, of which 3 genuine specimens are known.

    Keep up the good posts! :hail:
  11. goossen

    goossen Senior Member

    Very nice post! That's one of the things I love about coins... they tell a lot of story!
  12. Louie_Two_Bits

    Louie_Two_Bits Chump for Change

    That's amazing; thanks for sharing :)

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