The Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España) is a southwestern European country that is located in the Iberian Peninsula with pockets of territories in Africa and the Mediterranean Sea. It was one of the first global empires and colonized most of South America and parts of Asia. Because of its large influence, Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world.
Spain used three different monetary systems. These are the real, the escudo, and the peseta.
The Spanish Real
The real was the official Spanish currency from the middle of the 14th century to 1864. One real was worth three maravedis. Real notes were used as vouchers and promissory notes for loans to local banks in Spain. The real was also minted as coins.
The Spanish peso, also known as the Spanish dollar, was used concurrently with the real. However, the peso was used in the Asian and American colonies. Because the peso circulated in many territories, it was used as trading money for international commerce. Eight reales were equivalent to one silver peso.
The escudo was used for coins. Its name came from the Spanish word for shield. There were two denominations for the escudo: the silver escudo and the gold escudo. The gold escudo was introduced in 1566 and was used in Spain until 1833. The silver escudo was introduced in 1864 and was used until 1869. The gold escudo was equivalent to 16 reales. Meanwhile, the silver escudo was equivalent to 10 reales.
The 400 escudo note was the first Spanish note to depict a real person instead of allegorical Spain. It was introduced by the Bank of Spain in 1871. The note featured Johannes Gutenberg, the German inventor who revolutionized printing in Europe with the printing press. His portrait was used as a border, interspersed with kneeling cherubs. The backside was blank, as was the convention at the time. It had a pink solid security thread and a watermark of the initials of the Bank of España, a woman, and six-pointed stars.
Peseta – The Last Currency of Spain
The peseta was the official currency of Spain from 1869 until the adoption of the euro in 2002. It was introduced at a rate of five pesetas to two silver escudos. One peseta was equivalent to 100 centimos. Peseta notes often featured prominent Spaniards in front and significant architecture, art, and historical events at the back. The notes were also printed by the National Mint of Spain.
The 5,000 Spanish peseta note from 1979 was one of the largest denominations issued by the Bank of Spain. Its obverse side contained the Spanish coat of arms and also an image of Alberto Schommer’s photo of King Juan Carlos I. Its reverse side featured the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) in Madrid, its floor plan, as well as a sample of King Juan Carlos I’s handwriting. The note had a fleur-de-lys registration device, a solid security thread, and a watermark of King Juan Carlos I. The note was 156 mm long and 85 mm wide.
Spain adopted the euro as its official currency in 2002.