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Spanish Currency History

Spanish Money

Spain’s currency history prior to the euro consisted of the Spanish Real, the Spanish Escudo, and the Spanish Peseta. Learn more about it.

The euro was introduced as money in Spain in 2002. The majority of the European Union members adopted this new currency to make traveling between countries easier, since the currency for Spain is the same in most EU countries. The euro is the official currency of 16 (of 27) member states in the EU: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Estonia (due to join in 2011). The euro consists of 7 bank notes with values of: 500€, 200€, 100€, 50€, 20€, 10€ and 5€, and 8 coins with values of: 2€, 1€, 0.50€, 0.20€, 0.10€, 0.05€, 0.02€ and 0.01€. On the denomination side of the Spanish currency, the image is the same for all European countries, but the image on the face side of the coins vary according to which country the coin came from.

Spanish Currency History

Spain’s currency history prior to the euro consisted of the Spanish Real, the Spanish Escudo, and the Spanish Peseta. Most of the changes in Spanish money occurred due to conceptual shifts, when certain denominations of an old Spanish currency began to be mentioned with words that would later be used to describe what would eventually become the new currency in Spain.

The Spanish real, meaning Royal, was the Spanish currency for several centuries from the mid-14th century until 1864, when the escudo replaced the real in the Spanish economy. The real was introduced by King Pedro I of Castile as a standardized coin with a value of 3 maravedíes (Iberian gold and silver coins). Eight reales was equivalent to one silver peso, or Spanish dollar, which would be introduced as Spanish money the same year. The Spanish dollar was used in American and Asia and Spanish coinage became popular during this period in international trade and commerce.

The Spanish escudo referred to two different types of Spanish currency denominations: silver and gold. The first Spanish escudo was a gold coin and was introduced in 1566 which continued to be issued until 1833. The Silver escudo was used from 1864-1869 until it was replaced by the new Spanish currency called the peseta. Each escudo represented a certain value of reales, the previous currency of Spain.

Before the euro became the main currency of Spain, the money in Spain was called pesetas. Pesetas were in use from 1869 until the implementation of the euro in 2002. The word peseta comes from the word peceta, a diminutive of the Catalan word peça, meaning “a small piece.” By the 15th century the word referred to a silver coin and by the Middle Ages the word was used to describe the value of two reales (previous Spanish currency). In an effort to unite the currency in Spain, a decree was issued in October of 1868 when Spain joined the Latin Monetary Union that stablished the peseta as the national Spanish currency with the intention of strengthening the economy, business and promoting a stable financial system.

Spanish Economy

When Spain was accepted into the EU, it generated increased foreign investment and market liberalization in the Spanish economy. Spain was the principal beneficiary of the EU’s “harmonization fund” which provided support to the poorer EU nations to reduced economic disparities. A number of EU-funded projects during this time propelled the economy in Spain, including: the construction of airports, highways, and high-speed rail lines. After a small economical downturn in the mid-1990s, the Spanish economy entered into a period of growth.

The Spanish economy is one of the top 15 economies of the world and top 5 European economies. Spain’s economy had above average GDP growth for nearly 15 years, but began to slow in late 2007. By the second quarter of 2008, the economy in Spain had entered into recession (along with most of the world). The economic situation in Spain resulted in a decline in the construction sector, an oversupply of housing, falling consumer spending and less exports. In 2009, Spain had the highest unemployment rate in the EU.

The most important agricultural products in the Spanish economy include: grains, vegetables, olives, wine, grapes, sugar beets, citrus, beef, pork, poultry, dairy products, and fish.

The most important industries for the economy of Spain are: apparel and footwear, food and beverages, metals and metal manufacturing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, automobiles, machine tools, tourism, clay and refractory