Maravedí

Last updated

The maravedí (Spanish pronunciation:  [maɾaβeˈði] , from Arabic : الدينار المرابطي Almoravid dinar ), 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.

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] ).

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.

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).

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.

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

Related Research Articles

Denarius Ancient Roman coin

The denarius was the standard Roman silver coin from its introduction in the Second Punic War c. 211 BC to the reign of Gordian III, when it was gradually replaced by the Antoninianus. It continued to be minted in very small quantities, likely for ceremonial purposes, until and through the tetrarchy (293–313).

Peso Name of several monetary units

The peso is the monetary unit of several countries in the Americas and the Philippines, that originated in Spain.

Dinar currency of various countries

The dinar, the principal currency unit in several countries, was used historically in several more.

Spanish dollar Former coin of the Spanish Empire

The Spanish dollar, also known as the piece of eight, is a silver coin of approximately 38 mm (1.5 in) diameter worth eight Spanish reales. It was minted in the Spanish Empire following a monetary reform in 1497.

Solidus (coin) gold coin issued in the Late Roman Empire

The solidus, nomisma, or bezant was originally a relatively pure gold coin issued in the Late Roman Empire. Under Constantine, who introduced it on a wide scale, it had a weight of about 4.5 grams. It was largely replaced in Western Europe by Pepin the Short's currency reform, which introduced the silver-based pound/shilling/penny system, under which the shilling functioned as a unit of account equivalent to 12 pence, eventually developing into the French sou. In Eastern Europe, the nomisma was gradually debased by the Byzantine emperors until it was abolished by Alexius I in 1092, who replaced it with the hyperpyron, which also came to be known as a "bezant". The Byzantine solidus also inspired the originally slightly less pure dinar issued by the Muslim Caliphate.

French denier

The denier or penny was a medieval coin which takes its name from the Frankish coin first issued in the late seventh century; in English it is sometimes referred to as a silver penny. Its appearance represents the end of gold coinage, which, at the start of Frankish rule, had either been Byzantine or "pseudo-imperial". Silver would be the basis for Frankish coinage from then on. The denier was minted in France and parts of the Italian peninsula for the whole of the Middle Ages, in states such as the patriarchate of Aquileia, the Kingdom of Sicily, the Republic of Genoa, the Republic of Siena, and the crusader state Kingdom of Jerusalem, among others.

Spanish real currency

The real was a unit of currency in Spain for several centuries after the mid-14th century. It underwent several changes in value relative to other units throughout its lifetime until it was replaced by the peseta in 1868. The most common denomination for the currency was the silver eight-real Spanish dollar or peso which was used throughout Europe, America and Asia during the height of the Spanish Empire.

The peseta was a unit of currency in Catalonia until 1850, when the whole of Spain decimalized. It was also a name used throughout Spain for an amount of 4 reales de vellón. It was coined in Barcelona in gold and silver from 1808 until 1814, under the Napoleonic government.

Spanish colonial real

The silver real was the currency of the Spanish colonies in America and the Philippines. In the seventeenth century the silver real was established at two billon reals or sixty-eight maravedís. Gold escudos were also issued. The coins circulated throughout Spain's colonies and beyond, with the eight-real piece, known in English as the Spanish dollar, becoming an international standard and spawning, among other currencies, the United States dollar. A reform in 1737 set the silver real at two and half billon reals or eighty-five maravedís. This coin, called the real de plata fuerte, became the new standard, issued as coins until the early 19th century. The gold escudo was worth 16 reales de plata fuerte.

Netherlands Indies gulden Unit of account of the Dutch East Indies

The gulden was the unit of account of the Dutch East Indies from 1602 under the United East India Company, following Dutch practice first adopted in the 15th century. A variety of Dutch, Spanish and Asian coins were in official and common usage. After the collapse of the VOC at the end of the 18th century, control of the islands reverted to the Dutch government, which issued silver 'Netherlands Indies' gulden and fractional silver and copper coins until Indonesian independence in 1945.

French livre currency of Kingdom of France and its predecessor state of West Francia from 781 to 1794

The livre was the currency of Kingdom of France and its predecessor state of West Francia from 781 to 1794. Several different livres existed, some concurrently. The livre was the name of both units of account and coins.

Mancus gold coin

Mancus was a term used in early medieval Europe to denote either a gold coin, a weight of gold of 4.25g, or a unit of account of thirty silver pence. This made it worth about a month's wages for a skilled worker, such as a craftsman or a soldier. Distinguishing between these uses can be extremely difficult: the will of the Anglo-Saxon king Eadred, who died in 955, illustrates the problem well with its request that "two thousand mancuses of gold be taken and minted into mancuses".

The escudo was the name of two distinct Spanish currency denominations.

The dinheiro was the currency of Portugal from around the late 12th century until approximately 1502. For accounting purposes, twelve dinheiros equalled one soldo and twenty soldos equal one libra (pound). The basis of the monetary system was that of the Roman Empire.

Gold dinar gold coin, first issued by the Umayyad Caliphate, made of 1 mithqal (4.25 grams) of gold

The gold dinar is an Islamic medieval gold coin first issued in AH 77 (696–697 CE) by Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan. The weight of the dinar is 1 mithqal.

This article provides an outline of the currency of Spanish America from Spanish colonization in the 15th century until Spanish American independencies in the 19th. This great realm was divided into the Viceroyalty of New Spain, which came to include all Spanish territory north of Panama, the West Indies, Venezuela, and the Philippines, and the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included Panama and all Spanish territory in South America except Venezuela. The monetary system of Spanish America, originally identical to that of Spain, soon diverged and took on a distinctive character of its own, which it passed on to the independent nations that followed after.

Tarì currency

A tarì was the Christian designation of a type of gold coin of Islamic origin minted in Sicily, Malta and Southern Italy from about 913 to the 13th century.

Dobla

The dobla, including dobla castellana (excelente), gran dobla, dobla de la Banda, dobla cruzada, dobla alfonsi and dobla almohade, was the name of various Iberian gold coins between the 11th and 16th centuries, ranging in value from 2-870 maravedis, depending on the year. The name originated as the "double maravedi", a term used by Castilians for the Muslim dinar, when the maravedí was re-valued as equivalent to the Muslim half-dinar, or masmudina, by Ferdinand III. However, years later, the dobla became various new coins, and at times, a dobla was the same as the newer coins enrique or castellano. In general, a dobla was a valuable gold coin, while the maravedi was de-valued into silver or rarely copper forms. In the 16th century, the dobla was replaced by the ducado, then by the escudo as the standard gold coin of Spain.

Cornado type of Castilian coin (13th-16th c.)

Cornado is the common name of several Castilian coins made of copper or billon, minted from the time of Sancho IV of Castile until that of the Catholic Monarchs.

Almoravid dinar

The Almoravid dinar was a gold dinar coin minted under the Almoravid dynasty in the Maghreb and Iberia. The mints that produced them were supplied by the West African gold mines south of the Sahara dessert. The Almoravid dinars circulated widely beyond the reach of the empire; the Christian kingdoms of Iberia called them "marabotins" and "maravedís".