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DUCAT

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V08, Page 629 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DUCAT, the name of a coin, generally of gold, and of varying value, formerly in use in many European countries. It was first struck by Roger II. of Sicily as duke of Apulia, and bore an inscription " Sit tibi, Christe, datus, quern to regis, iste ducatus" (Lord, thou rulest this duchy, to thee be it dedicated); hence, it is said, the'name. Between 128o and 1284 Venice also struck a gold coin, known first as the ducat, afterwards as the zecchino or sequin, the ducat becoming merely a money of account. The ducat was also current in Holland, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark (see NUMISMATICS). A gold coin termed a ducat was current in Hanover during the reigns of George I. and George III. A pattern gold coin was also struck by the English mint in 1887 for a proposed decimal coinage. On the reverse was the inscription " one ducat " within an oak wreath; above " one hundred pence," and below the date between two small roses. There is a gold coin termed a ducat in the Austria-Hungary currency, of the value of nine shillings and fourpence. DU CHAILLU, PAUL BELLONI (1835-1903), traveller and anthropologist, was born either at Paris or at New Orleans (accounts conflict) on the 31st of July 1835. In his youth he accompanied his father, an African trader in the employment of a Parisian firm, to the west coast of Africa. Here, at a station on the Gabun, the boy received some education from missionaries, and acquired an interest in and knowledge of the country, its natural history, and its natives, which guided him to his subsequent career. In 1852 he exhibited this knowledge in the New York press, and was sent in 1855 by the Academy of Natural Sciences at Philadelphia on an African expedition. From 1855 to 1859 he regularly explored the regions of West Africa in the neighbourhood of the equator, gaining considerable knowledge of the delta of the Ogowe river and the estuary of the Gabun. During his travels he saw numbers of the great anthropoid apes called the gorilla (possibly the great ape described by Carthaginian navigators), then known to scientists only by a few skeletons. A subsequent expedition, from 1863 to 1865, enabled him to confirm the accounts given by the ancients of a pygmy people inhabiting the African forests. Narratives of both expeditions were published, in 1861 and 1867 respectively, under the titles Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa, with Accounts of the Manners and Customs of the People, and of the Chace of the Gorilla, Crocodile, and other Animals; and A Journey to Ashango-land, and further penetration into Equatorial Africa. The first work excited much controversy on the score of its veracity, but subsequent investigation proved the correctness of du Chaillu's statements as to the facts of natural history; though possibly some of the adventures he described as happening to himself were reproductions of the hunting stories of natives (see Proc. Zool. Soc. vol. i., 1905, p. 66). The map accompanying Ashango-land was of unique value, but the explorer's photographs and collections were lost when he was forced to flee from the hostility of the natives. After some years' residence in America, during which he wrote several books for the young founded upon his African adventures, du Chaillu turned his attention to northern Europe, and published in 1881 The Land of the Midnight Sun, in 1889 The Viking Age, and in 1900 The Land of the Long Night. He died at St Petersburg on the 29th of April 1903.
End of Article: DUCAT
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BARON PIERRE EMMANUEL ALBERT DUCASSE (1813–1893)
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GUILLAUME BENJAMIN AMAND DUCHENNE (1806-1875)

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