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 Museum Explorer

Leaders and rulers in the Americas

'Piece of eight'

Diameter: 40.000 mm
Weight: 27.020 g

CM 1935-4-1-11217

'Piece of eight'

From: Peru, countermarked in Manila
Date: AD 1828

This coin was known as a 'piece of eight' as it is worth 8 reales. From the 15th century, Spain explored and conquered much of Middle and South America. These places became part of the Spanish Empire and much of the gold and silver which made Spain wealthy came from there.

By the 19th century, the people of many South American countries were prepared to fight the Spanish in order to rule themselves, and after many struggles the Spanish left. When they were forced to leave Peru, the Spanish took these coins to another part of their empire, Manila in the Philippines, to be used there. You can see Manila 1828 stamped clearly onto one side, and PERUANA (Peru) on the other.