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A short history of the Portuguese currency

The coinage of money in what we know today as the Portuguese territory, dates back from the Roman domain of the Iberian Peninsula, which had been occupied by Celtic people since IX B.C. . Among the Roman-Portuguese coinage of the first era, several types are known, some with latin or iberian inscriptions.

Portugal as well as the rest of the Iberian Peninsula , was completely romanized during the Empire ( 30 B.C. ) . Several colonies were founded in commercial harbours such as Lisbon and Oporto and also in strategic military routes and the coinage of money continued throughout Lusitânia.

In the beginning of the 5th century , the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by the “ Suevos, Vândalos and Alanos” and until the arrival of the Visigoth , the coinage was made in Braga. Almost all the Visigoth kings ordered the coinage of money in the territory later known as Portugal.

From the 9th century on , the lands situates between Braga and the River Vouga , were named Portucalense . This Portucale County would give origin to the nation’s future name. D. Afonso Henriques (1128-1185 ) is considered to be the founder of the Portuguese kingdom.

With the Borgonha dinasty , the coinage in silver and copper with the names of the Portuguese kings began. With D. Sancho I , the coin presents for the first time , the five “ Quinas “ placed in cross , which gave birth to the universal symbol of the Portuguese shield.

D. Sancho I and his son D. Afonso II ( 1211-1223) ordered the coinage of a precious gold coin – the “ morabitino” - . Only later , in the reign of D. Pedro (1357-1367) , will the coinage be made of gold – the “ dobra “ – which replaced the “ morabitino “.

After D. Fernando’s death , D. João I ( 1358-1433 ) , Master of Aviz, becomes his successor and founds the Aviz Order. During his reign , Portugal spreads its domain throughout the seas, becoming a large colonial empire. Then, new kinds of currencies were coined. Among these , we must refer the “centi” or “ceitil” , a small copper piece, which is supposed to have been the first coined money to be introduced in America , taken by sailors.

During the Bragança dinasty (1640-1910) , the coinage of the same pieces continues . Due to the fact that large quantities of gold and diamonds from Brazil , were entering Portugal , there is the need to create a new gold coin in Brazil – the “réis” – ( the kings’ private currency ) .

However, between 1641 and 1663, some monetary devaluations in a row, led to the first issue of paper money. In 1797, Royal policies were issued , with values varying from 20 thousand and 1200 “réis” :these were pieces of paper printed in the “ Casa da Moeda “. Many historians consider these policies to be the first form of notes that were used in Portugal.

In 1910, King Manuel II was dismissed by a civil-military revolution which established the First Portuguese Republic. (1910-1926) . The Provisional Government adopts ( among other measures) a new monetary system based on the “escudo” of a hundred cents. In 1933 it is set in Portugal a dictatorship , which was only overthrown on the 25th April 1974 with the “ Revolution of Carnations” . Living in Democracy , the Portuguese Republic could from then on, together with the other European states of the Union , walk towards a common currency: the Euro.

July 2000 Escola Secundária Rodrigues de Freitas – Porto