The currency of the Conquistadors
Silver and gold coins were minted during the 14th century by Peter IV of Aragon. As soon as the New World was discovered, the currency was adopted throughout the Spanish territories, contributing to the height of the colonial and commercial empire.
It is also during this period (from 1520 to 1720) that the pirates’ activity intensified. It was the great era of piracy in the Caribbean! Spanish silver cargoes attracted and seduced pirates. The trips were targeted by the pirates who followed and attacked the ships to get the money transported. This is why the coins minted by the Spanish Empire in Mexico and Bolivia are known as the “Pirate Coin”!
To defeat the pirates, the Spanish adopted the convoy system: the flota. Numerous transport ships and warships joined together to carry money across the Atlantic, while avoiding pirate attacks. The purpose of each trip was to transport one year’s worth of silver and coins to Spain! The different coins of the conquistadores were minted in the main mints in Mexico.
In the course of time, the 8 reals coin, which had an irregular shape before the machines were made, was minted in different types. Thus, we find the Mexican coin of 1536, the Peruvian coin, before 1598, the coin known as “macuquino” from 1578 to 1732, the coin of the type “Perulero”, the “Colonial Piastre” from 1732 to 1771 and the “Busto” Piastre from 1771 until the end of the Spanish domination over America.