Masacre Island (Isle Du Massacre) 1699
As we know from our history books, the French colonized the middle part of North America in the name of King Louis XIV, calling it Nouvelle France, or just Louisiana. One of the earliest French settlements was on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
It was an island just four miles off the mainland near the mouth of Mobile bay in south Alabama, at a natural deepwater port that is today calledDauphin Island. In 1699, the French explorer, Pierre Le Moyne deIberville named it “Isle Du Massacre” (Massacre Island)because of a large pile of human skeletons he discovered there.
It turned out to be a burial mound that had been broken open by a hurricane, not a massacre site, but the name stuck. deIberville decided to locate a colony here because of the abundant timber, reliable supply of fresh water, and a great deep-water harbor. “Massacre Island” soon became the headquarters for French colonization along the Gulf Coast. The thriving settlement consisted of a fort, a chapel, government owned warehouses, and many private homes.
We issue this comemmorative colonial piece to celebrate the history of the island in a coin that could conceivably have existed. The obverse shows the haughty King Louis XIV at his jowly best… you can almost hear him shout “Letat, cest moi!” (translation: “I AM the state!”) as advisers and sycophants bow and scurry at his feet! The inscriptions declare him king of France and her colonies. The reverse bears the royal crown above, and a shield of three skulls to represent the colony, with the inscription “Isle Massacre” and the date 1699.
Here is a site with some paintings of Louis XIV, and another with a description of his character and reign.
In our unabashedly fictionalized version of events, we suggest that the crown authorized the minting of this colonial coin, but that the engravers design with shield of skulls turned out to be too lurid for the refined folk who were being urged to relocate to the colony. The chest of coins was locked away in a back-room at the mint, where it would sit out the revolution, two world wars, and would finally be discovered during a renovation just last year.
This largish copper coin denominated one-sol, weighs about 9 grammes of pure copper, is about 26 mm in diameter, and is done in the classic style of 17th century French coinage. The condition of the is EF+ (extremely fine plus) with little wear and a delicate toning.
This largish silver coin denominated one quarter Ecu, weighs about 6 grammes of 90% silver, is about 26 mm in diameter, and is done in the classic style of 17th century French coinage. The condition of the is EF+ (extremely fine plus) with little wear and a delicate toning. This piece is brought to you by Shire Post, specializing in crafting strange and unusual artifacts from all over the world for the purpose of making history come alive