Belgium, 20 Franc, 1914. Military Bust. One year type.
6.4516 g., .900 GOLD, .1867 oz AGW.
King Albert I
Albert I (of Belgium) (1875-1934), king of the Belgians (1909-34), nephew of King Leopold II. He
was born in Brussel and educated privately and at the École Militaire. Before his accession to the
throne he bore the title count of Flanders. His democratic manner made him the most popular member of
the reigning house. He traveled widely and was a student of politics and economics. In 1898 and again
in 1919 he visited the U.S. In 1900 he made an extended tour of the Belgian Congo and on his return to
Belgium urged the need of railroad development and of reform in the treatment of the Congolese; when
he became king, he ordered many improvements in the administration of this colony. On the death of
Leopold II in 1909, Albert acceded to the throne.
While on a visit to Berlin in 1913, Albert was informed of Germany's plans for war by Emperor William
II. He immediately warned France and on July 31, 1914, sent a personal letter to the German emperor
informing him that Belgium would remain neutral. When the letter was ignored and German troops poured
into Belgium, Albert assumed active command of his army and directed a successful delaying action
against invasion. He remained with his troops throughout the war.
After World War I he played an active role in the reconstruction of his country and in 1919 made a
plea to the Allies for the abolition of the Treaty of London, which made Belgium neutral ground and
thus vulnerable to invasion. As a result, the abolition of the treaty was incorporated into the
Treaty of Versailles. Albert supported general industrial expansion and the development of a strong
merchant fleet as the best methods of national recovery. In 1934 he was killed by a fall while
mountain climbing. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Leopold III.
"Albert I (of Belgium)," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia
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|KM #78, Obverse French leg: DER BELGES|