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Venice had one of the most illustrious histories. It was a major power during the Byzantine period and continued to be an important sea power even until modern times. Venice and the areas of Istria and Dalmatia, were ceded by Napoleon to Austria in 1797 and confirmed as possessions at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.

In the beginning the Austrian power brokers believed that they could gain the confidence of Venetians by alluding to their eventual home rule. But the Venetians wanted no part of that. As such the Austrians took advantage by systematically draining Venice financially and politically, using it merely as a source of raw materials for the Hapsburg economy. In 1845, for example, the Austrians sucked out more than 45 million Lire from the Venetian economy. This behavior infuriated the locals to the point of civil unrest which boiled over in 1848, with Daniele Manin’s war cry “Long Live St. Mark!”. After kicking out the Austrians, he became the president. Initially it was the Republic of St. Mark, then the State of Venice, but due to a variety of political gaffs, Venice eventually was over-run, once again by the Austrians (under General Redetzky), it would take another 18 years before it would finally be annexed by Italy in 1866.

During the independence period, the Provisional Government of Venice issued these small silver coins of 15 centisimi, showing the Lion of St Mark and dated 1848.



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