The Dollar / Spanish Peso 1776

The Spanish empire and its economy dominated the Americas in the late 18th century, and the Spanish peso was the premier currency in the rebellious North American colonies.  The Spanish peso was so widely used that even the British paid their soldiers in the colonies in silver pesos.  The majority of the silver for the pesos was mined in Mexico during the late 18th century, and the coins were also called “Mexicans”. The US Congress instituted the Continental dollar in May of the previous year (1775), and provided that the notes would be payable in “Spanish Miller Dollars or the value thereof in gold and silver.”  As the American Revolutionary War progressed, the Continental dollar hyper-inflated and rapidly lost value. In November of 1776, Congress adopted the Spanish peso as their unit of currency. (Please visit for more information on the contribution of the Spanish and Latinx to the American Revolutionary War.)

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