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1 leu, 5, 100 lei 2007 - Independence of Romania - 130 Years
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37 mm diameter, 23.5 g, coppered tombac, grained edge
Obverse: ROMANIA, year 2007, Romanian coat of arms, face value 1 LEU, fragment from painting "Attack of Smîrdan" by Nicolae Grigorescu and inscription "ATACUL DE LA SMARDAN" meaning "ATTACK OF SMÎRDAN"
Reverse: fragment from a bas-relief placed on the pedestal of the C.A. Rosetti's statue in Bucharest (bas-relief entitled "9th of May 1877"), year 1877, inscription "PROCLAMAREA INDEPENDENTEI" meaning "PROCLAMATION OF THE INDEPENDENCE"

Issuing date: 20th of August 2007

Mintage: 130 coins

30 mm diameter, 15.55 g, 99.9% silver, grained edge
Obverse: face value 5 LEI

Issuing date: 20th of August 2007

Mintage: 130 coins

21 mm diameter, 6.452 g, 90% gold, grained edge
Obverse: face value 100 LEI

Issuing date: 20th of August 2007

Mintage: 130 coins


The coins celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Independence of Romania. The pictures of the coins above are present on Romanian coins through the kind permission of Mr. J. Ardelean.

The Independence of Romania is also celebrated by the 100 lei from 1998 silver coin.

About the Proclamation of Independence of Romania

In April 1877 Romania was in a difficult situation. The Russian troops had entered the country and the war between Tsarist Empire and the Ottoman Empire had begun. The Turks bombarded the harbours on the Romanian side of the Danube and gangs of bashi-bazouks were crossing the Danube for looting. Romanian politicians were boiling and the public opinion waited eagerly for the Proclamation of the Independence.

On the 29th and the 30th of April the Assembly of Deputies and the Senate adopted a parliamentary motion ascertaining that the state of war in which the country was placed had been caused by Turkey alone, which itself broken its ties with Romania.

The issue of the formal Proclamation of Independence and of the way in which it had to be proclaimed were discussed in the 7th of May session of the Council of Ministers who was chaired by prince Carol himself.

In the session of the Assembly of Deputies, on the 9th of May old style (or the 21st new style), a session started at half past one afternoon and chaired by C.A. Rosetti), liberal deputy Nicolae Fleva (1840-1920) interpellated the government, asking to know whether the foreign countries had been informed or not on the fact that Romania had broken the connections with Turkey and then was an independent country. Fleva also asked the Foreign Affairs ("Esterne") minister - namely Mihail Kogălniceanu - to say whether he communicated or not to the foreign powers the fact that Romania was in a state of war with Turkey.

Mihail Kogălniceanu replied to the interpellation by a long discourse, in which he clearly showed that Romania had become an independent state: "[...] In a state of war, with broken connection, what are we? We are independent; we are a selfstanding nation. We have a selfstanding prince. [...]".

As a consequence of the discourse held by the minister of Foreign Affairs, the Assembly of Deputies voted a motion proposed by Fleva, through which it "takes act that the war between Romania and Tukey, the breaking of our ties with the Porte and the absolute independence of Romania have received their official consecration.".

Immediatly after that the Senate started its own session (at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, chaired by Manolache Costache Epureanu), in which a motion was adopted through which this assembly "[...] considers the Romanian State as independent, and invites the government to see that its independence be recognzed and guaranteed by the grand European Powers [...]".

Constantin Bacalbașa wrote [1] that a throng of people was gathered on the Metropolitan Hill in order to witness the big event. After that the people poured out on the streets of the capital, the celebration lasting long in the night.

On the 10th of May prime minister Ion Brătianu held a speech in the Assembly of Deputies pertaining to the Independence and the war with Turkey. To this discourse assisted prince Carol I. In the same day was the 11th anniversary of the prince's enthronement.

The proclamation of the Independence was immediately disclosed abroad. For instance, on the 10th of May old style (22nd new style) the news related the proclamation of Romania's Independence (on the 9th of May) was published by most newspapers in the United States of America [3], [6], [7], [8], [9].

On the 11th of May the Assembly of Deputies adopted a budget modification - the 914000 lei allocated for the payment of the tribute to the Porte were moved for the expenditures of the army.

About the Day of May 10th

On May 10th 1866 prince Carol entered Bucharest and took before the Parliament the oath to observe the laws of the country, being enthroned as prince of Romania. The enthronement day of prince Carol I became the National Day of Romania (maintained until 1947).

The Independence, proclaimed on the 9th of May and communicated abroad the same day, was apparently celebrated, starting even from 1878 - on the 10th, together with National Day. On the date of May 10th 1881 Carol I was crowned king of Romania (the law for the Proclamation of Kingdom being issued two months earlier, on March 14th / 26th). During the kingdom's era (1881-1947) on the 10th of May - National Day - three distinct events were celebrated: enthronement of king Carol I, Independence and crowning of the first Romanian king [4].

In the princely message for closing of the Senate on the 15th/27th of June 1877 Carol reminded the senators that "[...] on May 9th, you have proclaimed the complete independence of Romania. You did not stop at the simple uttering of this grand national vote; you gave to My government all the means, so that itself, arm in hand, be able to work so that vote become reality.". Inside one memory book of king Carol [5] it shown that on the 21st Kogălniceanu stated that Romania was practically independent. As first manifestation of independence, the order Steaua României (Star of Romania) was created. The book was originally written in German by Mite Kremnitz, with explicit permission of king Carol I.

About the Statue of C.A. Rosetti in Bucharest

The statue of C.A. Rosetti (1816-1885) in Bucharest is the work of sculptor Wladimir Hegel (1839-1918) and was inaugurated in 1903. On sides of the pedestal two bas reliefs in bronze and two important dates - 24 IANVARIV 1859 and 9 MAIV 1877 - are placed. The reverse of the coin depicts a fragment of the bas relief evoking the participation of Rosetti in the events on the day of May 9th 1877.

According to the communique of the National Bank of Romania referring to the entering into circulation of this set of coins, the reverse represents the solemn moment when the Independence was proclaimed in the common session of the houses. Although it is unknown if whether the bas relief is depicting a real scene or rather is the fruit of artist's imagination, the main characters appearing on the pedestal and also the coin are mostly recognizable. At the tribune clearly C.A. Rosetti is standing, as president of the Assembly of Deputies, as the one directly honored by the monument. To the right stands Mihail Kogălniceanu, minister of Foreign Affairs. To the right of Kogălniceanu seems to be Carol I (although the prince did not assist to the discourse of Kogălniceanu in the Assembly of Deputies on May 9th). Possibly, prime minister Ion Brătianu, other ministers are also represented (to the right of the tribune seems to lie the ministerial bench). To the left lies a clergyman - he might be the metropolitan primate, Calinic Miclescu (1822-1886).

References

1. Bacalbașa C., Bucureștii de altădată. vol. I (1871-1877), Editura Eminescu, București, 1987.

2. Carol I (ediție îngrijită de Constantin C. Giurescu), Cuvântările regelui Carol I. vol. I, 1866 - 1886, Fundația pentru Literatură și Artă Regele Carol II, București, 1939.

3. Roncea V., Victor Roncea Blog. INEDIT: Anuntul Declararii Independentei Romaniei in ziarul New York Times din 10/22 Mai 1877 si comentariile negative prealabile ale Austro-Ungariei.

4. Scurtu I., Prof. Univ. Dr. Ioan Scurtu. Împotriva falsificării istoriei – 10 Mai Ziua Națională a României?.

5. Whitman S. (editor), Reminiscences of the King of Romania. New York and London, Harper Brothers, 1899.

6. New York Times, 22nd May 1877, The War on the Black Sea, p.1.

7. New-York Tribune, 22nd May 1877, New York, Roumania Independent, p.1.

8. Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 3, Number 76, 22nd May 1877, Roumania Proclaims her Independence, p.2.

9. The Sun, 22nd May 1877, New York, Roumania Proclaiming her Independence, p.1.


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