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Andreas Hofer was a Austrian innkeeper and patriot who hailed from the County of Tyrol. He assisted his home country, ruled by the Habsburgs at the time, during the War of the Third Coalition, and subsequently formed a rebellion against the Franco-Bavarian leadership of Tyrol during the early 19th century, which sparked the War of the Fifth Coalition.
Andreas Hofer, son of Josef Hofer and Maria Aigentler, was born on November 22, 1767 in St. Leonhard in Passeier. His father was an innkeeper at the Sandhof Inn, and Andreas inherited the establishment after his father died. He also traded wine and horses in northern Italy, where he learned the Italian language. Hofer married Anna Ladurner in 1789, and with her had seven children. He was elected into the Landtag of the County of Tyrol in 1791.
During the War of the Third Coalition against the French Empire, Hofer served as a sharpshooter, and later a militia captain. When Tyrol was ceded from the to the Kingdom of Bavaria (France's ally) as a result of the Treaty of Pressburg in 1805, Hofer became the leader of an anti-Bavarian movement, aiming to return the county to Austria. He began to secretly organize insurrection by visiting local villagers and holding councils of war at local inns. The Tyrolean rebellion began on April 9, 1809, which was concurrent with the War of the Fifth Coalition against Emperor Napoleon I of France. Even though the rebellion was victorious in a handful of armed confrontations, including the Battles of Bergisel, the movement was ultimately unsuccessful. To Hofer's dismay, the Treaty of Schönbrunn, which concluded the War of the Fifth Coalition, ceded Tyrol to Bavaria once again. Being promised amnesty, he and his followers laid down their weapons and Hofer retreated to his home valley.
On November 12, Hofer received false reports of Austrian victories and began to summon his troops a few days later, on November 15. This time, he had little following and his forces were defeated by French troops. Hofer managed to escape from the battle upon request by his subordinate commanders, and began living in a hut in the mountains in Passeier Valley shortly after. The French offered a reward of 1500 guilders for Hofer's capture. His neighbor, Franz Raffl, revealed his hiding place to authorities sometime in 1809, and consequently, Hofer was seized by Italian troops on January 19, 1810. He was sent to Mantua in chains, where he faced a court martial and was ultimately executed by a firing squad on February 20, 1810.
In the absence of a Tyrolean ruler in 1809, Hofer declared himself Imperial Commandant of the county. During this time, he authorized the minting of 1 and 20 kreuzer coins at the Tyrolean Mint. Such coins were minted in small quantities.
Commemoration on coinageEdit
Hofer is a recognizable historical figure in Austria, largely due to his involvement in establishing and leading the Tyrolean rebellion in 1809. As a result, he has been the subject of some Austrian commemorative coins. The first, a 50 schilling coin from 1959 that commemorates the 150th anniversary of the liberation of Tyrol, features a forward-facing portrait of Hofer on the obverse. It was followed by a 5 euro coin from 2009 commemorating the 200th anniversary of Tyrolean liberation. An image of Hofer is featured on the obverse, accompanied by a woman to his rear bearing a flag featuring the heraldic eagle of either the Austrian Empire or Tyrol.