Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Liechtenstein Regiment

These stamps on the FDC remind one of the final days of the Tiechtenstein Regiment. The Uniforms shown are those of the officers and soldiers used for the last time in 1866, as clearly mentioned on the cover. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance Liechtenstein often saw combat. The castle at the heart of the country was twice ruined in sieges by the Turks in 1529 and 1683. The tiny nation (principality) of Liechtenstein, currently ruled by Prince Hans-Adam II, gained its independence in 1806. It is a landlocked mountain country bordered on the west by Switzerland and the east by Austria. Occupied by French then Russian then French again then finally by German troops during the Napoleonic wars, Liechtenstein has been free since 1813. It sent a 40 man detachment along with the forces opposing Napoleon and it returned a year later with 41 men. When revolution broke out in 1848 in the old German state of Baden the Liechtensteiner army took the field and helped restore order there. In 1866 the country again sent its troops off to war against Prussia. Its entire army was sent to guard Stilfser Joch (Passo Stelvio) against an enemy trust that never came. Accused of being a cause for war between Austria and Prussia in 1866, an uneasy but bloodless state of war existed between the Principality and Prussia (later Germany) for nearly sixty years before being settled by a diplomatic note. In 1868, after joining in a trade union with the Austro-Hungarian Empire who assumed responsibility for its defense, Liechtenstein disbanded its colorful peacetime army of 80 men out of financial considerations and declared its permanent neutrality. The army stacked its retired weapons at its garrison of the Vaduz Castle and many of them remain in the collection there to this day. Merja gave me this nice FDC.


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