Kingdom of Spain. Fernando VII (1813-1833). 2 Escudos Acuñado en Madrid en el año 1820. Ensayadores G.J. Gregorio Lázaro Labrandero y José Sánchez Delgado
Kingdom of Spain.
2 gold Escudos coins, Ferdinand VII (1808-1833). Struck in Madrid in the year 1820. Assayers G. J. Gregorio Lázaro Labrandero and José Sánchez Delgado
OBVERSE: FERDIN•VII•D•G•HISP•ET IND•R.
(Ferdinand VII by the grace of God King of Spain and the Indies) around a laureate bust of the King on the right
REVERSE: IN•UTROQ•FELIX•AUSPICE•DEO 2 S •Mo• •AJ•
(In one and another (world) happy under the gaze of God) around a coat of arms with a crown between an 8 and an S surrounded by the golden fleece.
Assayers G. J. Gregorio Lázaro Labrandero and José Sánchez Delgado
Gold weight: 6.68 g, 23 mm.
Please see the images to get a better impression.
King of Spain (El Escorial, 1784 - Madrid, 1833). He was the son of Charles IV, with whom he had very bad relations: as Prince of Asturias he conspired against his father, gathering around him a Fernandist party with some court and popular support from all those dissatisfied with the policies of the Valide Godoy. When the conspiracy was discovered, the prince was condemned by the El Escorial trial (1807), although he immediately asked for and obtained his father's pardon. This did not prevent him from leading the mutiny of Aranjuez, by which he seized the throne from Charles IV and toppled Godoy from power (1808). Ferdinand, who had been in contact with Napoleon throughout his conspiracies, discovered in that same year that the Emperor was invading Spain and had him imprisoned and taken to Bayonne (France), where he was forced to return the Crown to Charles IV, only to force the latter to abdicate the Spanish throne to the Emperor's own brother, Joseph I. While Ferdinand was imprisoned in Valençay (France), it was the Spanish people who took it upon themselves to resist the French occupation and the revolutionary process that was to lead to the Cortes of Cadiz to draft the first Spanish Constitution in 1812; during the ensuing War of Independence (1808-14), the captive king became a symbol of Spain's national aspirations, which is why he was nicknamed El Deseado (the Desired One). With the French militarily defeated, Ferdinand regained the throne by the Treaty of Valençay (1813); as soon as he arrived in Spain he hastened to follow the invitation of a group of reactionaries (Manifesto of the Persians) and re-establish the absolute monarchy of the previous century, eliminating the Constitution and the reform work carried out in his absence by the Cortes (1814).
The rest of Ferdinand VII's reign was marked by his resistance to reforming the outdated structures of the Ancien Régime, accompanied by bloody repression of liberal-inspired movements. During the 'six misnamed years' (1814-20), he confined himself to restoring the absolute monarchy as if nothing had happened since 1808, aggravating the financial problems arising from the continued existence of fiscal privileges and the inadequacy of the traditional tax system; growing indebtedness stifled the Royal Treasury, while Spain lost all international prominence (participation in the Congress of Vienna in 1815 ended without any benefit for the country). Unable to react to the emancipation of the American colonies, Ferdinand allowed them to consolidate their independence from Spain; when, in 1820, he assembled an expeditionary army in Andalusia to regain control of the Americas, it rose up under the command of General Riego and set in motion a revolutionary process that forced the king to accept the restoration of the 1812 Constitution. During the following Liberal Triennium (1820-23), Ferdinand tried to save the throne by pretending to accept his new role as constitutional monarch, but he used every resource he could to derail the regime and obstruct the reforms of the Cortes and the liberal governments: he conspired to organise a coup d'état by the Royal Guard in Madrid, which failed in 1822; he then called on the absolutist powers of the Holy Alliance to help him, and even brought about a new French invasion of the Peninsula, the campaign of the 'Hundred Thousand Sons of Saint Louis,' which, under the command of the Duke of Angoulême, overthrew the constitutional regime and restored Ferdinand as absolute king (1823). The 'Ominous Decade' (1823-33) began, during which Ferdinand exacerbated his vengeful hatred of any hint of liberalism, while allowing the loss of the Spanish empire in America to be consummated: he once again annulled all the legislative work of the constitutional Cortes, bankrupted the Treasury and drowned new liberal pronouncements in blood. In the last years of his reign, however, the monarch's political concerns came from elsewhere: in 1830 Ferdinand finally promulgated the Pragmatic Sanction approved by the Cortes of 1789, which abolished the Salic Law, returning to the traditional Castilian law of succession that allowed women to inherit the throne; a timely decision, since in that same year an heir was finally born from his fourth marriage to his niece María Cristina de Borbón, but it turned out to be a female (the future Elizabeth II). This situation unleashed the wrath of Prince Carlos María Isidro, the king's brother, who was removed from the succession in favour of his niece, and from then on became the leader of the discontent of the ultraroyalists, who were reluctant to open up or compromise with the sign of the times, which was unequivocally liberal throughout Europe. The pure royalists had already staged an uprising in Catalonia in 1827 (the Rebellion of the Aggrieved) and in the last years of the reign were preparing for civil strife; their intransigence took its toll on the king, who in a moment of illness repealed the Pragmatica, only to re-enact it once he was healthy (1832). This encouraged the dynastic split that led the country into the First Carlist War (1833-39), with Ferdinand dead and Maria Christina ruling as regent in the name of his daughter, Elizabeth II.