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Dynasty: Stuarts
Ruler: James II
Reigned: 1685 - 1688
Denomination: AR Fourpence
Date of Issue: 1687
Obverse: Bust left. "IACOBVS II DEI GRATIA".
Reverse: Crown over "IIII". "MAG BR FRA ET HIB REX 1687"
Reference: Spink 3314
Weight: 1.8 gms
Diameter: 18.4 mm


JAMES II (of Great Britain) (1633-1701), King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, (House of Stuart) (6th February 1685 to 11th december 1688).

James was born on October 14th, 1633, in London, the second surviving son of King Charles I and his consort, Henrietta Maria. He was created Duke of York and Albany in 1634. After the execution of his father, he was taken to the Continent, and in 1657 he entered the Spanish service in the war against England. At the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, his brother became king as Charles II, and James was made lord high admiral of England. That year he married Anne Hyde, daughter of Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon. In 1672, a year after Anne's death, James publicly professed his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith. The next year the English Parliament passed the Test Acts disqualifying Catholics from holding office, and James resigned as lord high admiral. Shortly after, he married Mary Beatrice of Modena, a Roman Catholic. In 1679 the House of Commons unsuccessfully attempted to bar James from the throne.

On the death of Charles in 1685, James became king. In the same year he crushed a revolt in England by his nephew, James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, and another in Scotland led by Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll. James alienated many supporters by his severe reprisals, especially by a series of repressive trials known as the Bloody Assizes. James attempted to win the support of the Dissenters and the Roman Catholics in 1687 by ending religious restrictions, but only increased the religious tensions. The birth of his son, James Francis Edward Stuart, on June 10th, 1688, seemed to ensure a Roman Catholic succession. Soon afterwards the opposition leaders invited James's son-in-law, William of Orange, later William III, to take the English throne, touching off the Glorious Revolution. William landed in England in November 1688 and marched on London. He was hailed as a deliverer, and James, deserted by his troops, fled to France, where he was helped by King Louis XIV. In 1690, with a small body of French troops, James landed in Ireland in an attempt to regain his throne. He was defeated in battle at the Boyne and returned to France, where he remained in Saint-Germain-en-Laye until his death on September 16th, 1701.

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