Addendum to my Coin of the Month



Britannia and the Falkland Islands

Nations that commemorate events of national significance through their coins are oftentimes able inspire their citizenry. For instance, the United States through the imagery of its bicentennial coinage reminds us of our nations greatness (dollar), its permanence and values(half dollar), and its struggle for freedom and liberty (quarter). The two-dollar bill (a favorite of mine) inspired us with a portrait of the signing of the Declaration of Independence (I still remember the snafu over the three missing delegates in that rendition.) Likewise, I can remember the patriotic mood of our nation in 1976 and my excitement over the bicentennial coinage. That said, I think these coins spoke to the average non-collecting American as well.

More recently, the imagery present on the 50-state quarters has served to remind us of each states history and diversity. These coins in turn, became a source of pride for the residents of each respective state. For example, I gave each of my nieces and nephews a silver proof set on their graduation from high school. Being from Wisconsin, I still remember my sisters excitement over her son who among all my nieces and nephews, got the Wisconsin state quarter for his graduation.

This brings me to my current Coin of the Month and the use of Britannia on a Falkland Islands coin commemorating the 25th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands. Without getting into politics, I want to focus on the design of this coin that presumes British sovereignty over the Falklands. A brief summation of the history of the Falkland Islands War will put this coin in context.

Since its discovery, sovereignty over the Falkland Islands has been in constant dispute. Nevertheless, the Falkland Islands have remained under British rule throughout most of the Falkland Islands history. On April 2, 1982, the special forces of the Argentine army invaded and captured the islands. The Argentine government reasoned that because of the islands extreme distance from Great Britain, that the United Kingdom would relinquish their control over them. However, the Argentinians underestimated the United Kingdoms resolve to come to the defense of the islands under their protectorate. Subsequently, on June 14, 1982, after a brief war, Argentinian forces surrendered the islands back to the United Kingdom.

After the war, the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands became British citizens and 25 years later, a 2007 one-crown coin commemorates the liberation of the Falklands. With the islands as a backdrop, a triumphant Britannia stands strong, trident in hand, ready to defend the Falklands from all potential foes. In Britannias other hand is a shield displaying the coat of arms of the Falkland Islands and an olive branch. While Britannia is prepared to defend the Falklands, she prefers peace. Around Britannias shoulders is a cape on which is the union flag representing the United Kingdom as the Falkland Islands protectorate.

To the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands, this coin then conveys a sense of stability and security. Regardless of what happens, the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands know the United Kingdom will come to their defense. In spite of everything, Argentina has not renounced their claim to the Falkland Islands. However, rather than seeking a military solution to their claim, Argentina is committed to a diplomatic solution.

Throughout this post, I wanted to show Britannia in another context from my previous post. In summary, regardless of the country, national personifications are strong symbols with the power to move nations.

Next month I will continue my three part Seated National Personifications series with Lady Liberty of the United States, so until then, happy collecting.





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