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LEPANTO DON JUAN Austria Great Battles Silver Coin 5$ Cook Islands 2010


The coin dedicated to the great commander Don Juan de Austria, known as Don John, and the famous Battle of Lepanto (1571). It belongs to "Great Battles & Commanders" series. This Battle was the largest ever sea battle in the Mediterranean between allied Christian forces (Venice, the pope, and Spain) and the Ottoman Turks during an Ottoman campaign to acquire the Venetian island of Cyprus.

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Don Juan (1547 -1578) was the illegitimate son of the Spanish King and Holy Roman Emperor Carlos I (Charles V) and half brother of King Felipe (Philip) II of Spain. As a Spanish military commander, he achieved victory over the Turks in the historic naval Battle of Lepanto. Removed from his mother, a burgher's daughter, at an early age, Juan was brought up in concealment in Spain. After the death of his father Carlos, Felipe II of Spain recognized him as his half brother, provided him with a substantial household, and gave him the name Don Juan de Austria (1559).
Though it was hoped that he would enter the church, the handsome and spirited Don Juan expressed a desire to embark on a military career, and Felipe acceded to his wishes. In the summer of 1568 Don Juan had his first brief experience in warfare, fighting Moorish pirates in the Mediterranean, and he was then appointed in March 1569 commander in chief of Spanish forces attempting to subdue the rebellious Moriscos, or Christians of Moorish ancestry, in Granada. Felipe then appointed him in 1571 to head the naval forces of the Holy League of Spain, Venice, and the pope against the Ottoman Turks in the eastern Mediterranean.
By the prestige of his royal name, and by his enthusiasm, Don Juan was able to impose a temporary unity of purpose on the quarreling admirals of the league and to form the several fleets into an effective fighting unit. In the Battle of Lepanto the allies virtually annihilated the Turkish forces, thereby destroying the myth of Turkish invincibility. The victory of Lepanto also fired Don Juan's personal ambitions for further campaigns against the Turks, but Felipe would only allow him to conquer Tunis (1573). The city was, however, reconquered again by the Turks the following year.
For several years Don Juan continued to chafe under the restraints his prudent brother imposed upon him, but in 1576 he was appointed governor-general of the Netherlands, then in open revolt against Spanish authority. Don Juan was at first reluctant to accept this difficult post and took it only on condition that he would be allowed to invade England and wed Mary Stuart, the Scottish queen then in captivity in England. In the Netherlands he signed the Perpetual Edict with the rebels (February 1577), by which, in exchange for rebel recognition of Don Juan as governor and restoration of the Roman Catholic religion, Spanish troops were to be removed. The provinces of Holland and Zeeland did not accept the return to Catholicism and refused to recognize Don Juan's authority. Don Juan then assumed the more congenial role of soldier and resumed the war by capturing Namur.
Don Juan's last months were marred by the murder of his secretary, Juan de Escobedo, who had aroused Felipe's enmity. The monarch's complicity in the crime was strongly suspected. Don Juan felt that he had lost his brother's confidence and was also hampered in his war in the Netherlands by lack of adequate financial and military backing. His death in 1578 released him from an increasingly intolerable position.

  • CountryCook Islands
  • Year2010
  • Face Value5 Dollars
  • MetalSilver
  • Fineness (purity)925/1000
  • Weight (g)25
  • Diameter (mm)38.61
  • QualityProof
  • Mintage (pcs)1.000
  • Certificate (COA)Yes
  • Presentation case (box)No
The coin obverse depicts a colorized portrait of Don Juan de Austria and in background the reproduction of a famous peinture d'histoire militaire painted by Yogesh Brahmbhatt, "The Battle of Lepanto" (1571).
The reverse, common for all coins in the series, shows Queen Elisabeth II effigy.