Maravedí

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The maravedí (Spanish pronunciation:  [maɾaβeˈði] ) was the name of various Iberian coins of gold and then silver between the 11th and 14th centuries and the name of different Iberian accounting units between the 11th and 19th centuries.

Iberian Peninsula Peninsula located in southwest Europe

The Iberian Peninsula, also known as Iberia, is located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is principally divided between Spain and Portugal, comprising most of their territory. It also includes Andorra, small areas of France, and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. With an area of approximately 596,740 square kilometres (230,400 sq mi)), it is both the second largest European peninsula by area, after the Scandinavian Peninsula, and by population, after the Balkan Peninsula.

Contents

Etymology

The word maravedí comes from marabet or marabotin, a variety of the gold dinar struck in Spain by, and named after, the Moorish Almoravids (Arabic المرابطون al-Murābitũn, sing. مرابط Murābit). The Spanish word maravedí is unusual in having three documented plural forms: maravedís, maravedíes and maravedises. The first one is the most straightforward, the second is a variant plural formation found commonly in words ending with a stressed -í, whereas the third is the most unusual and the least recommended (Real Academia Española's Diccionario panhispánico de dudas labels it "vulgar in appearance" [1] ).

The Diccionario panhispánico de dudas or DPD is an elaborate work undertaken by the Real Academia Española and the Association of Spanish Language Academies with the goal of resolving questions related to the proper use of the Spanish language. Like other publications of the Academy, such as the Diccionario de la lengua española de la Real Academia Española, the work follows a linguistically prescriptive philosophy as opposed to a descriptive one. The first edition was published in 2005 and is now being revised to more properly align with principles set forth by the Academy's other publications.

History

obverse of 4 Maravedies Maravedis de los Reyes Catolicos acunada en Cuenca.jpg
obverse of 4 Maravedies

The gold dinar was first struck in Spain under Abd-ar-Rahman III, Emir of Córdoba (912–961). During the 11th century, the dinar became known as the morabit, morabotin or morabetino throughout Europe. In the 12th century, it was copied by the Christian rulers Ferdinand II of León (1157–1188) and Alfonso VIII of Castile (1158–1214) as the maravedí. Alfonso's gold marabotin or maravedí retained inscriptions in Arabic but had the letters ALF at the bottom. It weighed about 3.8 grams.

Córdoba, Spain Municipality in Andalusia, Spain

Córdoba, also spelled Cordova in English, is a city in Andalusia, southern Spain, and the capital of the province of Córdoba. It was a Roman settlement, taken over by the Visigoths, followed by the Umayyad Caliphate in the eighth century. It became the capital of a Muslim emirate, and then the Caliphate of Córdoba, which encompassed most of the Iberian Peninsula. During this period, it became a center of education and learning, and by the 10th century had grown to be the largest city in Europe. It was conquered by the Kingdom of Castile in 1236.

Ferdinand II of León King of Leon and Galicia

Ferdinand II was King of León and Galicia from 1157 to his death.

Alfonso VIII, called the Noble or the one of the Navas, was the King of Castile from 1158 to his death and King of Toledo. He is most remembered for his part in the Reconquista and the downfall of the Almohad Caliphate. After having suffered a great defeat with his own army at Alarcos against the Almohads in 1195, he led the coalition of Christian princes and foreign crusaders who broke the power of the Almohads in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, an event which marked the arrival of a tide of Christian supremacy on the Iberian peninsula.

In Castile, the maravedí de oro soon became the accounting unit for gold, alongside the sueldo (from solidus) for silver and the dinero (from [denarius]) for billon (vellón in Spanish).

The dinero was the currency of the Christian states of Spain from the 10th century. It was copied from the French denier and served in turn as the model for the Portuguese dinheiro.

Billon (alloy) silver-copper alloy

Billon is an alloy of a precious metal with a majority base metal content. It is used chiefly for making coins, medals, and token coins.

Gold Maravedies issued in Toledo by Alfonso VIII of Castile, 1191 Alfonso VIII maravedi 701240.jpg
Gold Maravedies issued in Toledo by Alfonso VIII of Castile, 1191

The gold content of the maravedí fell to a gram during the reign of James I of Aragon (1213–1276), and it kept falling, eventually becoming a silver coin under Alfonso X of Castile (1252–1284). By this time the word maravedí was being used for a specific coin officially, for any coin colloquially, and as a synonym for money itself, resulting in a certain confusion in interpreting 13th-century references to money, values, and coinage.

James I of Aragon 13th-century King of Aragon

James I the Conqueror was King of Aragon, Count of Barcelona, and Lord of Montpellier from 1213 to 1276; King of Majorca from 1231 to 1276; and Valencia from 1238 to 1276. His long reign—the longest of any Iberian monarch—saw the expansion of the House of Aragon and House of Barcelona in three directions: Languedoc to the north, the Balearic Islands to the southeast, and Valencia to the south. By a treaty with Louis IX of France, he wrested the County of Barcelona from nominal French suzerainty and integrated it into his crown. He renounced northward expansion and taking back the once Catalan territories in Occitania and vassal counties loyal to the County of Barcelona, lands that were lost by his father Peter II of Aragon in the Battle of Muret during the Albigensian Crusade and annexed by the Kingdom of France, and then decided to turn south. His great part in the Reconquista was similar in Mediterranean Spain to that of his contemporary Ferdinand III of Castile in Andalusia. One of the main reasons for this formal renunciation of most of the once Catalan territories in Languedoc and Occitania and any expansion into them is the fact that he was raised by the Knights Templar crusaders, who had defeated his father fighting for the Pope alongside the French, so it was effectively forbidden for him to try to maintain the traditional influence of the Count of Barcelona that previously existed in Occitania and Languedoc.

Alfonso X of Castile King of Castile

Alfonso X, called the Wise, was the King of Castile, León and Galicia from 30 May 1252 until his death in 1284. During the election of 1257, a dissident faction chose him to be Roman-German king on 1 April. He renounced his claim to Germany in 1275, and in creating an alliance with England in 1254, his claim on Gascony as well.

Alfonso X, for example, made three issues of vellón, in each of which the new coin was called a maravedí. His basic silver coin of 1258–1271 was also called a maravedí (maravedí de plata). It weighed 6.00 g and contained 3.67 g of fine silver. It was worth 30 dineros. At that time, the money of account was the Maravedí of 15 Sueldos or 180 Dineros, so that one maravedí as an accounting unit was worth six silver maravedí coins.

The silver maravedí money of account represented (according to one interpretation) about 22 g of silver in 1258. This had fallen to 11 g by 1271, to 3 g by 1286, and to 1.91 g in 1303. The gold maravedí had disappeared as a money of account by 1300. The maravedí de plata (silver maravedí) gradually came to be used as money of account for larger sums, for the value of gold coins, and for the mint price of silver, and eventually it supplanted the sueldo as the main accounting unit. Alfonso XI (1312–1350) did not call any of his coins a maravedí, and henceforth the term was used only as a unit of account and not as the name of a coin.

In 1537 it became the smallest Spanish unit of account, the thirty-fourth part of a real. In the new world, nonetheless, there are documents which testify to the reduction of their value to less than the thirtieth part of a real. This reduction was on account of the cost and risk of their transportation from Spain, before the establishment of the first mint houses of Mexico and Santo Domingo. The maravedí remained a money of account in Spain until 1847. [ citation needed ]

After Spain's discovery of the Americas, copper maravedís, along with silver reales, were the first coins struck in Spain for the purpose of circulation in the New World colonies. These coins, minted with a special design for specific use of the Americas, were first coined in Seville in 1505 for shipment to the colonial island of Hispaniola the following year, thus giving these coins their distinction as the first coins for the New World. By 1531 these coins were still being minted, by now in both Seville and Burgos. These maravedís were used as Spanish Colonial change for smaller transactions and after mints were later established in the New World, in both Mexico (ordered in 1535, production began in 1536) and Santo Domingo (ordered in 1536, production began in 1542), coins of this type were also minted there. [ citation needed ]

The Fernando VII maravedi from 1830. Fernando III maravedi 19658.jpg
The Fernando VII maravedí from 1830.

See also

Rare references

Notes

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Dobla

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