The British Museum's collections, £16.99
Height: 101.000 mm
Width: 158.000 mm
Coins and Medals
10,000 reis note
Portugal, AD 1910
In 1910, after centuries of monarchy, Portugal overthrew Manuel II (reigned 1908–10) and established a republic. The old currency, the rei (meaning 'king'), was worth little and a new currency was introduced, the escudo (from the Latin scutum, meaning 'shield'), equivalent to 1000 old reis. The crown on the back of this 10,000 reis note of 1910 has been overprinted with the Portuguese word for 'Republic'.
Neither the new currency nor the republic was a terribly stable entity. The escudo lost value throughout the 1910s and 1920s, and in 1925 a serious financial crisis blew up when large quantities of duplicate notes were found to have been put into circulation. This contributed to the instability which led to the military coup of 1926. Democracy was not eventually restored in Portugal until 1974. Portugal joined the EU in 1986 and the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 but had a difficult passage through the 1990s, being forced to devalue the escudo twice.
J. Cribb, B. Cook and I. Carradice, The coin atlas (London and Sydney, Macdonald Illustrated, 1990)