Short history of the Mexican peso

The presence of the peso is as old as the colonial period when the viceroy Antonio de Mendoza arrived with the royal commission to create the first Casa de Moneda. The coin that was coined in New Spain was called "real de a ocho" or "duro peso" and contained 27.5 grams of silver with purity greater than 0.900.

Mexican peso
Mexican peso

The name peso comes from the fact that when there were no coins to pay, the payments were made "by weight" of a unit of metals by means of a scale. This unit of measurement was "a Castilian", commonly called "weight of gold".

The Real de a ocho was used as a currency from Spain to China and the Philippines, passing through the territory of what is now Mexico. Even the United States used the coins as the basis of its monetary system in 1785, after its independence, with a parity of one peso for one dollar. The United States would use them until 1857, although it began to mint its own currency in 1792.

In addition, the Mexican peso was the first currency in the world to use the $ symbol to denote it, although the origin is not well known. Some say it arises from the overlap of the letters "ps" used to abbreviate the currency; while others assure that it is due to the use of an "8" crossed out vertically to identify the "real ones of eight"; and some more than the Spanish heraldry.

With the beginning of independence struggles in New Spain, caudillos like José María Morelos coined their own coins as a promise of payment for when the war was consummated. However, due to the shortage of silver, the coins were made of copper. Since these currencies were a promise of payment, it can be said that they were the first fiduciary money in the country, long before the coins legally ceased to be backed by a precious metal.

The silver would remain as metal for the manufacture of coins after Independence and during the Porfiriato. During the Revolution, as during Independence, the caudillos would coin their own currency and issue their own bills under the name of "bilimbiques."

After the struggles, an ordering of the monetary system was necessary, a task that fell into the hands of the Bank of Mexico in 1925. And as of 1931, it was established that the metal backed by the currency would be gold; 0.75 grams by weight.

After the period of high inflation in the 1980s, the Mexican peso gave way to new pesos, which eliminated three zeros from previous prices for better money management and facilitate the execution and accounting of transactions. Before this change the Mexican peso was identified with the letters "MXP"; then it was changed to "MXN", with which its identification in the markets is maintained until today.

Currently, eight countries use the denomination "peso" for their currency: Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay.