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Story of Money


Section 9: Commerce in the colonies Previous | Next | Section Index
When coins were used, many came from New World mints
England did not supply the colonies with ample coinage and prohibited them from making their own. Foreign coins were used instead. Spanish silver dollars, worth eight reales, were called “pieces of eight” because they were often cut into eight bits for change. A quarter was “two bits.” These coins became such an important part of the colonial economies that the dollar was the logical choice as the basic monetary unit of the United States.

Mexico City
1769

Mexico City
1772

Mexico City
1807

Bogotá
1812

Bogotá
1820

Bogotá
1841

Lima
1794

Lima
1818

Lima
1855

Potosi
1802

Potosi
1808

Santiago
1812
Section Index