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A very rare faith of credit, dating back to 1855. Issued by the Royal Bank of the royal domains beyond the lighthouse, fund of the court of Palermo. Issued 5 years after the birth of the Royal Bank we briefly talk about. In 1849, with the administrative separation of Sicily from the mainland, the Bank of the Two Sicilies was split into two institutions , by decree of August 15, 1850: one, the Continental, which retains the name of Bank of the Two Sicilies, the heritage and the funds of discount , as well those of the court; the other, the Sicilian, which acquired the name of the Royal Bank of the Royal domains beyond the lighthouse, and the two branches of Palermo and Messina. In 1858 two discount funds with the assets of 1,000,000 ducats , aggregated to the ducats assigned by the Treasury. With these funds the bank started giving birth to a credit activity without touching the mass of its metal takings, against which those characteristic securities, called “faiths of credit”, had been put into circulation.

The use of the term Kingdom of Sicily beyond the lighthouse (or further), or Kingdom of Sicily on this side (or hither), in reference to the lighthouse of Messina and to the eponymous Strait of Messina, was born when Charles I d’Angiò was crowned by Pope Clemente IV rex Siciliae, and the Court of Catania and Palermo claimed for itself that title by placing the instances of Pietro III of Aragon, thus beginning the Vespers’ war. The Peace of Caltabellotta, in 1302, put an end to the war giving life to this separation. During the years of Federico II, the main subdivision of the Kingdom, though it hadn’t administrative characteristics, was into its continental side: the Sicily beyond the lighthouse, and the Royal Domains hither. By the administrative point of view, instead, the Kingdom was subdivided in 22 provinces, 15 of which in the hither Sicily (ex- Kingdom of Naples) and 7 in the further Sicily ex-Kingdom of Sicily), subdivided in districts (second level administrative unit), and neighborhood (third level administrative unit). From the historical point of view 1855 leads us to talk about Ferdinando II who, after the very hard and disturbing motions of 48-49 biennium, obtained the result of bringing back the political structure of the Kingdom to status quo ante.


At a price, however, extremely high: the European public opinion identified him as a brutal ruler, and enemy of the constitutional and liberal order. The Kingdom flattened its foreign policy on the alliance with Austria of Francesco Giuseppe, and this produced an irreparable split with the Sicilian ruling class, who waited more than a new opportunity for redemption. Above all, the fate of the dynasty separated permanently from the case of the Italian national Risorgimento.  Just as the riots of 48-49 marked the separation between the Bourbons and the inhabitants of the Kingdom. It should not be forgotten that the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was the first to arise in Italy and Europe against absolutism. On January 12, 1848 the first riots broke out. In Palermo, the hub of the revolt, thousands of leaflets were distributed among the population, and a big manifesto against the Bourbons was advertised. The insurrection was successful throughout the Kingdom so that the monarchy finished on January 23, and on March 25 a new government headed by Ruggero Settimo was born. On June 10, 1948, Sicily became State of Sicily with a constitutional government. The new government asked Ferdinando Alberto Amedeo of Savoy to be the King of the new State of Sicily but he refused, and for a long time the newborn state tried in vain for a new king. The vacant Kingdom and the many clashed inside it, brought the Sicilian government to gradually weaken. Ferdinand II used its weakness to  regain the island. On September 1948 the bombing of the Sicilian cities began, and Messina and Catania were the most affected. On May 14, 1849, after months of very hard fights, Sicily came under the Bourbon’s control. But the discontent of the population snaked up to the collapse of the Kingdom in 1860 under the impact of Garibaldi and his expedition of the Mille. At a collector’s level this document, being very rare, has a catalogue value around 500 euro. For this reason its re-evaluation chances are high. 

Alberto PUPPO
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