Articles

 

Neufchâteler Erinnerungsmedaille

Neufchâtel Commemorative Medal

Instituted on January 18, 1832 by the King of Prussia Friedrich Wilhelm III and awarded to military personnel who participated in suppressing anti-Prussian republican mutiny in the County of Neufchâtel during autumn and winter 1831, as well as to Neufchâtel subjects who remained loyal to the crown of Prussia. Decree signed by the King stated that Neufchâtel Commemorative Medal was issued to “those who participated in the military operations and took up arms against the rebels in the year 1831 and maintained order in their communities” (“…die an den militärischen Operationen gegen die Rebellen im Jahre 1831 teilgenommen und zur Aufrechterhaltung der Ordnung in ihren Gemeinden die Waffen ergriffen hatten”).

County of Neufchâtel (Fürstentum Neuchatel, or Fürstentum Neuenburg) situated on the Eastern border of the then France had a union with the Kingdom of Prussia since the first Prussian king Friedrich I asserted himself as a sovereign of Neufchâtel. After Prussia was defeated by Napoleon I the county was granted to French Marshal Louis Alexandre Berthier who obtained a honorary title “Sovereign prince of Neufchâtel”. Having never set foot in his domain Berthier nevertheless did a lot to build infrastructure there. Battalion raised in that county took part in Napoleon’s invasion to the Russian Empire in 1812. According to the Vienna Congress Act 1815 that settled numerous issues arisen from the French Revolutionary Wars, Napoleonic Wars and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, Neufchâtel was given back to its previous owner, i.e. Kingdom of Prussia. Nevertheless having reasserted his rights to the county the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III achieved an agreement according to which Neufchâtel was linked with the other Swiss cantons still remaining Hohenzollern principality. On September 12, 1831 anti-Prussian revolt shook tranquil Neufchâtel. Its ringleader Alphonse Bourquin (11.12.1802-24.07.1837) declared that Prussia had lost its sovereign rights having ceded Neufchâtel to the French in 1806. Though under his leadership gangs occupied castle but lack of support forced him to lay down arms. After undertaking another unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Prussian rule on December 17, 1831 he fled to Brazil and then to the United States. Law and order were restored by the Prussian troops sent in by Friedrich Wilhelm III. Although mutiny was suppressed quite quickly Neufchâtel subjects maintained idea of throwing off Prussian rule and as a result of a bloodless revolt the county finally declared itself a republic within the Swiss Confederation on March 01, 1848.

An obverse of the Neufchâtel Commemorative Medal has a monogram of the King Friedrich Wilhelm III in French “FG III” (standing for Frédéric Guillaume III) in its center topped with a Prussian crown. It is circumscribed by a motto “Loyalty to Duty and Fatherland” (“Fidélité au Devoir et à la Patrie”) in capital letters in French as well. Date of the suppression of the mutiny, 1831, is situated at the lower part of the obverse flanked by two small five pointed stars.

A reverse bears Neufchâtel coat of arms topped with a Prussian crown in its center surrounded by two leaves, laurel at the left and oak at the right tied by a ribbon at the bottom.

Design of an award was created by a Neufchâtel-born medalist professor Henri-François Brandt (1789-1845).

Circular silver medal with loop for ribbon suspension was 24,5 mm in diameter approximately and weighed 6,7 g.

Neufchâtel Commemorative Medal silk ribbon shows seven equal vertical stripes combining colors of Prussia with those of Neufchâtel: black and white at edges and yellow with two red at its center.  

Totally 7,006 medals were struck.

Neufchatel 1