Description:During the 16th century, the great seafaring Catholic nation of Portugal had a global empire that included possessions in Africa, Asia and South America. This 16th century gold coin was minted in Lisbon during the reign of Sebastian I, who became King of Portugal at the age of only 3 and ruled from 1557-1578. The obverse side of this rare coin features a Jerusalem cross with the Latin legend IN HOC SIGNO VINCES, translated to "In this sign thou shalt conquer." A reference to the vision of a Cross, that the first Christian Roman Emperor Constantine had in 312. The reverse side shows a crowned coat of arms with the legend SEBASTIANVS I REX PORTVG “Sebastian I King of Portugal.”
During Sebastian’s reign, the Portuguese continued their colonial expansion, while he strengthened ties with the Holy Roman Empire, England and France. He restructured much of the administrative, judicial and military life in his kingdom. Sebastian also declared that the Brazilian Indians should not be used as slaves and ordered the release of those held in captivity.
In 1578 Sebastian began embarking on his envisioned crusade against Morocco, despite not having an heir. His gamble would prove to be fruitless, dying in battle shortly after, having last been seen charging into enemy lines. His death resulted in the end of the Portuguese golden age and soon Spain gained control of the Portuguese Crown. Sebastian developed a revered following in Portuguese legends, becoming known as “The Desired,” with tradition longing for his return.