Why “Peso ” is the name of so many currencies in Latin America..
Have you ever wondered why the coin ‘ peso ‘ is called that?
And why do many countries in America use that denomination for their currency?
The origin of the peso as a monetary unit in the region goes back to the conquest of the continent by the Spaniards.
But they had to spend many years and cultural changes to get to the concept of what we know today as weight.
Let’s go for parts.
Why do we use piggy banks?
When the Spaniards and Portuguese arrived in the American continent, there was no such currency as we conceived it today.
“According to the chroniclers of the Indies, the Native Americans had used as currency, especially for the payment of taxes, cocoa beans, certain types of shells and other products “, explains Julio Torres, curator of the Spanish Mint Museum and author of the Essay “The implementation of the currency in America”.
In the Iberian Peninsula there were coins and were minted in gold, silver, fleece or copper. Some of them began to be exported to the “new continent “.
But the importation of currencies and the introduction of coinage in America did not mean the end of the use of species for commercial transactions. The Indians initially refused to accept the new currency and made it disappear.
It was in 1535 that Charles I of Spain ordered the establishment of mints in Mexico and Santo Domingo for its manufacture.
In a second phase were born the mints of Lima (1565) and La Plata (1573) that in 1574 was replaced by that of Potosí, today Bolivia.
And in a third is founded the mint of Santa Fe de Bogotá (1626).
Peso and Dollar
Until the 16th century, the commercial operations were carried out with bars, yew trees or gold, powder gold and also pieces and silver bars, describes Torres.
In the Spanish kingdom, the “Castilian ” or “Peso ” was a measure equivalent to about 4.6 grams of gold.
Just in the middle of the 16th century, silver began to displace gold as the main vehicle of transactions.
At the beginning of the coinages, the name of “Peso ” was applied to a currency type: “The real of a eight “, which were disks of 27 grams of gold of tepuzque, which was basically copper.
This coin was first fabricópor in Mexico during the reign of Felipe II between 1556 and 1598 and spread to other currency houses of the continent.
At the same time, the silver coins were also started to be coined with these characteristics.
“This denomination, along with the type of currency to which it designated, traveled to other languages of Germanic origin, including English, which gave rise to the dollar “, he adds.