This is a one-place Kaiser Wilhelm I Centennial medal bar. Along with Frederick the Great and Friedrich Wilhelm III, Kaiser Wilhelm I (1797-1888) was a highly successful Prussian King. Prussia grew to be Germany’s dominant state while he was king (with Otto von Bismarck’s direction as his “Iron Chancellor”). Germany eventually was unified under Prussia’s direction, beating Austrian and French armies in short order. He completed his rise to power in 1871 at Versailles, where he was crowned Germany’s Emperor. His reign continued until his death in 1888. He was replaced by his son, former Kronprinz Friedrich III, who lived for only ninety-nine days before dying of throat cancer. Wilhelm I’s grandson, Wilhelm II, then ascended to the throne and ruled until the German Empire’s end in 1918.
In 1897, Wilhelm II authorized this centennial medal in honor of his grandfather’s 100th birthday. The bronze decoration is mounted as a one-place medal bar. The medal displays a deep patina. Its ribbon is soiled.