The Portuguese Republic is the oldest sovereign state in the Iberian Peninsula and the westernmost of mainland Europe bordered by Spain to the north and east and by the Atlantic Ocean to the south and west. Portugal has established its own culture although influenced by the diverse Mediterranean and European civilizations. The country generates high income and is a developed country with a stable banking system. The Banco de Portugal, which is the central bank of the country, is an important part of the European System of Central Banks.
Before the euro was introduced on January 1, 1999, the country’s monetary unit was the Portuguese escudo which was also used in the Azores and Madeira. Between 1917 and 1925, the Casa de Moeda issued banknotes for 5, 10, and 20 centavos denominations. Starting in 1913, the Banco de Portugal released another set. Another family of notes was also introduced in the 1920s and in 1942, the 5,000 escudo note was introduced. The escudo notes feature prominent personalities in the history of Portugal. Its latest series depicts the Age of Discovery highlighting Joao de Barros, Pedro Alvarez Cabral, Henry the Navigator, Vasco da Gama, and Bartolomeu Dias. The well-known poet and writer Fernando Pessoa were also depicted on the last 100-escudo paper bill.