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COIMBRA—COINAGE OFFENCES

of primitive trap-hills known as the Cauvery chain, extending eastwards from the Nilgiris, and rising in places to a height of 4000 ft. The principal rivers are the Cauvery, Bhavani, Noyil, and Amravati. Numerous canals are cut from the rivers for the purpose of affording artificial irrigation, which has proved of immense benefit to the country. Well and tank water is also largely used for irrigation purposes. Coimbatore district was acquired by the British in 1799 at the close of the war which ended with the death of Tippoo. In 1901 the population was 2,201,782, showing an increase of 10% in the preceding decade. The principal crops are millet, rice, other food grains, pulse, oilseeds, cotton and tobacco, with a little coffee. Forests cover nearly 1½ million acres, yielding valuable timber (teak, sandalwood, &c.), and affording grazing-ground for cattle. There are several factories for pressing cotton, and for cleaning coffee, oil-cake presses, tanneries and saltpetre refineries. Cereals, cotton, forest products, cattle and hides, and brass and copper vessels are the chief exports from the district. The south-west line of the Madras railway runs through the district, and the South Indian railway (of metre gauge) joins this at Erode.


COIMBRA, the capital of an administrative district formerly included in the province of Beira, Portugal; on the north bank of the river Mondego, 115 m. N.N.E. of Lisbon, on the Lisbon-Oporto railway. Pop. (1900) 18,144. Coimbra is built for the most part on rising ground, and presents from the other side of the river a picturesque and imposing appearance; though in reality its houses have individually but little pretension, and its streets are, almost without exception, narrow and mean. It derives its present importance from being the seat of the only university in the kingdom—an institution which was originally established at Lisbon in 1291, was transferred to Coimbra in 1306, was again removed to Lisbon, and was finally fixed at Coimbra in 1527. There are five faculties—theology, law, medicine, mathematics and philosophy—with more than 1300 students. The library contains about 150,000 volumes, and the museums and laboratories are on an extensive scale. In connexion with the medical faculty there are regular hospitals; the mathematical faculty maintains an observatory from which an excellent view can be obtained of the whole valley of the Mondego; and outside the town there is a botanic garden (especially rich in the flora of Brazil), which also serves as a public promenade. Among the other educational establishments are a military college, a royal college of arts, a scientific and literary institute, and an episcopal seminary.

The city is the seat of a bishop, suffragan to the archbishop of Braga; its new cathedral, founded in 1580, is of little interest; but the old is a fine specimen of 12th-century Romanesque, and retains portions of the mosque which it replaced. The principal churches are Santa Cruz, of the 16th century, and San Salvador, founded in 1169. On the north bank of the Mondego stand the ruins of the once splendid monastery of Santa Clara, established in 1286; and on the south bank is the celebrated Quinta das lagrimas, or Villa of Tears, where Inez de Castro (q.v.) is believed to have been murdered in 1355. The town is supplied with water by means of an aqueduct of 20 arches. The Mondego is only navigable in flood, and the port of Figueira da Foz is 20 m. W. by S., so that the trade of Coimbra is mainly local; but there are important lamprey fisheries and manufactures of pottery, leather and hats.

A Latin inscription of the 4th century identifies Coimbra with the ancient Aeminium; while Condeixa (3623), 8 m. S.S.W., represents the ancient Conimbriga or Conembrica,. In the 9th century, however, when the bishopric of Conimbriga was removed hither, its old title was transferred to the new see, and hence arose the modern name Coimbra. The city was for a long time a Moorish stronghold, but in 1064 it was captured by Ferdinand I. of Castile and the Cid. Until 1260 it was the capital of the country, and no fewer than six kings—Sancho I. and II., Alphonso II. and III., Pedro and Ferdinand—were born within its walls. It was also the birthplace of the poet Francisco Sá de Miranda (1495–1558), and, according to one tradition, of the more famous Luiz de Camoens (1524–1580), who was a student at the university between 1537 and 1542. In 1755 Coimbra suffered considerably from the earthquake. In 1810 it was sacked by the French under Marshal Masséna. In 1834 Dom Miguel made the city his headquarters; and in 1846 it was the scene of a Miguelist insurrection.

The administrative district of Coimbra coincides with the south-western part of Beira; pop. (1900) 332,168; area 1508 sq. m.


COÍN, a town of southern Spain in the province of Málaga; 18 m. W.S.W. of the city of Málaga. Pop. (1900) 12,326. Coín is finely situated on the northern slope of the Sierra de Mijas, overlooking the small river Séco and surrounded by vineyards and plantations of oranges and lemons. There are marble quarries in the neighbourhood, and, despite the lack of a railway, Coín has a thriving agricultural trade. The population increased by more than half between 1880 and 1900.


COIN (older forms of the word are coyne, quoin and coign, all derived through the O. Fr. coing, and cuigne from Lat. cuneus, a wedge), properly the term for a wedge-shaped die used for stamping money, and so transferred to the money so stamped; hence a piece of money. The form “quoin” is used for the external angle of a building (see Quoins), and “coign,” also a projecting angle, survives in the Shakespearean phrase “a coign of vantage.”


COINAGE OFFENCES. The coinage of money is in all states a prerogative of the sovereign power; consequently any infringement of that prerogative is always severely punished, as being an offence likely to interfere with the well-being of the state.

In the United Kingdom the statute law against offences relating to the coin was codified by an act of 1861. The statute provides that whoever falsely makes or counterfeits any coin resembling or apparently intended to resemble or pass for any current gold or silver coin of the realm (s. 2), or gilds, silvers, washes, cases over or colours with materials capable of producing the appearance of gold or silver a coin or a piece of any metal or mixture of metals, or files or alters it, with intent to make it resemble or pass for any current gold or silver coin (s. 3), or who buys, sells, receives or pays a false gold or silver coin at a lower rate than its denomination imports, or who receives into the United Kingdom any false coin knowing it to be counterfeit (ss. 6, 7), or who, without lawful authority or excuse, knowingly makes or mends, buys or sells, or has in his custody or possession, or conveys out of the Royal Mint any coining moulds, machines or tools, is guilty of felony (ss. 24, 25). The punishment for such offences is either penal servitude for life or for not less than three years, or imprisonment for not more than two years, with or without hard labour. Whoever impairs, diminishes or lightens current gold or silver coin, with intent to pass same, is liable to penal servitude for from three to fourteen years (s. 4), and whoever has in his possession filings or clippings obtained by impairing or lightening current coin is liable to the same punishment, or to penal servitude for from three to seven years. The statute also makes provision against tendering or uttering false gold or silver coin, which is a misdemeanour, punishable by imprisonment with or without hard labour. Provision is also made with respect to falsely making, counterfeiting, tendering or uttering copper coin, exporting false coin, or defacing current coin by stamping names or words on it, and counterfeiting, tendering or uttering coin resembling or meant to pass as that of some foreign state. The act of 1861 applies to offences with respect to colonial coins as well as to those of the United Kingdom.

By the constitution of the United States, Congress has the power of coining money, regulating the value thereof and of foreign coin (Art. i. s. viii.), and the states are prohibited from coining money, or making anything but gold and silver money a tender in payment of debts (Art. i. s. x.). The counterfeiting coin or money, uttering the same, or mutilating or defacing it, is an offence against the United States, and is punishable by fine and imprisonment with hard labour for from two to ten years. It has also been made punishable by state legislation.