What was spain’s currency before the euro: peseta | Spanish currency | Britannica

The 3 Currencies that Once Ruled Spain

Fun fact: Spain’s use of the widely adopted Euro, was one that did not start until 2002. The country actually went through a few different iterations of currency before this, due to fluctuations of the world economy and different monarchical ideologies. If you’re planning on visiting Barcelona, or any other great city in Spain, why not learn a little more about their currency?

Of Royal Importance: The Real

The Spanish real, a name derived from the word “royal”, was introduced as Spain’s currency in the 14th century by King Pedro I of Castile. The silver real, also known to us as the Silver Dollar, was minted in ½, 1, 2, 4 and 8-real denominations, and was used all throughout Spain, its colonies, and certain parts of Europe during the height of the Spanish Empire. The real remained as Spain’s currency until 1864, when the Spanish escudo came in to replace it.

A Pirate’s Treasure: The Escudo

The Spanish Escudo was minted in two different forms: gold and silver, with each having denominations of ½, 1, 2, 4 and 8 escudos. The 2 escudos is known throughout history as the doubloon, a term you may recognize from famous pieces of literature and pirate legends. The escudo had a short life as Spain’s currency, being replaced just five years after its introduction in 1869.

A Unifier: The Peseta

After Spain joined the Latin Monetary Union (the predecessor to the EU) in 1868, the peseta was introduced as the country’s currency. Spain joined the Latin Monetary Union with the intention of strengthening their economy, business and financial system.  The peseta was later replaced by the Euro in 2002, when Spain was accepted into the European Union.

Follow the Leader: The Euro

Since Spain’s acceptance into the EU and their consequent adoption of the Euro, the country has flourished and maintained a stable economy that is fueled by its fashion scene in Madrid as well as its tourism industry. Today, Spain’s economy is the 15th wealthiest in the world and 5th in Europe.

If you’re heading over to Spain, you can reserve your currency online with CXI to pick up before you go!



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What Were the Old European Currencies Before the Euro? | IG US

Which countries use the euro?

The countries that use the euro are often referred to as a collective called the eurozone. These are 19 of the European Union (EU) member states, with the remaining members electing to use their own forms of currency, such as the Polish złoty or the Hungarian forint. However, aside from Denmark, the remaining EU27 member states (after Brexit) will adopt the euro as their national currency at some point in the future, once certain criteria are met.

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Below, you’ll find a table of the countries in the eurozone, including the name of the country’s currency before it adopted the euro and the date that each country joined the eurozone. It should be mentioned, that while countries such as Austria and Belgium joined the eurozone digitally in 1999, euro banknotes and coins didn’t enter circulation until 1 January 2002.

During the transition period, the euro was used alongside many national currencies for banking purposes, travellers’ cheques or online transactions before each pre-euro currency was phased out and replaced by euro banknotes and coins.

Country Old currency Date joined the eurozone Date euro began circulation
Austria Austrian schilling 1999 2000
Belgium Belgian franc 1999 2002
Cyprus Cypriot pound 2008 2008
Estonia Estonian kroon 2011 2011
Finland Finnish markka 1999 2002
France, Monaco, Andorra French franc 1999 2002
Germany German Deutschmark 1999 2002
Greece Greek drachma 2001 2002
Ireland Irish pound 1999 2002
Italy, San Marino, Vatican City Italian lira 1999 2002
Latvia Latvian lats 2014 2014
Lithuania Lithuanian litas 2015 2015
Luxembourg Luxembourgish franc 1999 2002
Malta Maltese lira 2008 2008
Netherlands Dutch guilder 1999 2002
Portugal Portuguese escudo 1999 2002
Slovakia Slovak koruna 2009 2009
Slovenia Slovenian tolar 2007 2007
Spain, Andorra Spanish peseta 1999 2002

Former European currencies

  1. German Deutschemark (Germany)
  2. French franc (France)
  3. Italian lira (Italy)
  4. Spanish peseta (Spain)
  5. Dutch guilder (Netherlands)
  6. Belgian franc (Belgium)
  7. Austrian schilling (Austria)
  8. Irish pound (Ireland)
  9. Finnish markka (Finland)
  10. Portuguese escudo (Portugal)

German Deutschemark

The German Deutschemark (Deutsche Mark, DM or D-Mark) was the pre-euro currency of West Germany from 1948 until 1990, and then of the unified Federal Republic of Germany from 1990 until 2002. The unified Federal Republic of Germany adopted the Deutschemark – rather than the East German mark – because the unified country was seen as an enlarged continuation of West Germany, rather than an entirely new successor state.

The Deutschemark was regarded as one of the world’s most stable currencies at the time that the Berlin Wall fell. In the nine years before the introduction of the euro, the Deutschemark continued to thrive under the policies of the Bundesbank (German Central Bank), which favoured tight monetary policy to reduce the risk of dramatic increases in inflation.

After the introduction of euro coins and notes on 1 January 2002, the euro became the official legal tender of Germany immediately. However, Deutschemark coins and notes continued to be accepted as payment until late February 2002, with the exchange rate for Deutschemarks to euros fixed at 1.95583 to one.

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French franc

The French franc can trace its history back to the ransom of King John II of France in 1360, when the first franc was used to secure the king’s release. According to legend, the name for the French franc comes from Francorum Rex, a Latin phrase meaning ‘King of the Franks’.

The French franc is the first of the pre-euro currencies on this list to have been a part of the Latin Monetary Union (LMU), which was an early attempt to fix exchange rates across various European countries.

The LMU – which existed from 1866 until 1927 – didn’t seek to establish a single currency such as the euro. Instead, it sought to peg the value of certain European currencies to each other at a time when most currency in circulation was made from gold and silver.

Following the collapse of the LMU, the franc continued as the primary currency of France until it formally adopted the euro as fiat currency in January 2002. Francs were exchanged for euros at a fixed rate of 6.55957 to one, with the final date for exchange being 17 February 2005.

Italian lira

The Italian lira, sometimes referred to in plural form as lire, was the pre-euro currency of Italy from 1861 until 2002. In 1861, Italy ceased to be a collection of individual states and became the unified Kingdom of Italy (1861 to 1946). To counter the various currencies in use at the time across Italy, the lira was introduced and became the official currency of the newly unified state.

The lira was affected by inflation in the Italian economy from the 1970s until the country formally adopted the euro in 1999, at which point the production of lire banknotes and coins was halted in preparation for the release of euro-denominated notes and coins on 1 January 2002.

During this time, the lira was exchangeable at a fixed conversion rate of 1936.27 to the euro, which was maintained by the Banca d’Italia (Bank of Italy) until 2012.

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Spanish peseta

The Spanish peseta was the pre-euro currency of Spain from 1868 until 2002. The peseta was divided into subunits of centimos, with 100 centimos being equal to one peseta. However, following the death of Spanish leader Francisco Franco in 1975, inflation began to climb in the Spanish economy. It got to such a point in the late 1970s and early 1980s, that the centimo was withdrawn from circulation in 1983 as it had become practically worthless.

After this time, frequently used peseta banknotes included the 1000, 2000 and 5000 denominations. However, the Spanish government took considerable steps to curb the effects of inflation from the early 1980s and by 1997, inflation in Spain had fallen to around 2%.

The Spanish peseta was used alongside the euro from 1999 until 2002, with the peseta no longer being accepted as legal tender after February 2002. Unlike some other currencies on this list, the peseta will be exchangeable with the euro at a fixed rate of 166.386 to one indefinitely. Transactions can be completed with the Banco de España (Bank of Spain).

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Dutch guilder

The Netherlands used the Dutch guilder (gulden) as its official currency from around 1517 until 2002. The currency was decimalised in 1817 with one guilder being comprised of 100 cents.

Unlike some of the other old European currencies on this list, which circulated alongside the euro, the guilder stopped being legal tender on 28 January 2002 – a full month before currencies such as the Spanish peseta and the Austrian schilling.

The guilder was converted to the euro at a rate of 2.20371 to one, and the Nederlandsche Bank (National Central Bank of the Netherlands) will continue to exchange guilders for euros at this rate until 1 January 2032.

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Belgian franc

The Belgian franc was the currency of the Kingdom of Belgium from when the country secured its independence in 1832, until the implementation of the euro in 2002. The Belgian franc was subdivided into units of 100, referred to as centiemen in Dutch.

In the 60 or so years before Belgium started using the euro, the franc was devalued on several occasions, first in 1944, and then in 1946, 1949 and finally in 1982. During this time, the Belgian franc also traded at par with the Luxembourgish franc, and each was legal tender in the other country.

Just like other countries on this list, the Belgian franc was used alongside the euro for three years from 1999, and it ceased being legal tender in February 2002. The Banque Nationale de Belgique (National Central Bank of Belgium) will continue to exchange Belgian franc banknotes indefinitely, although it stopped exchanging coins in December 2004.

Austrian schilling

The Austrian schilling was the pre-euro currency used by Austria between 1925 and 1938, and then again from 1945 until 2002. After Germany annexed Austria in 1938, the German Reichsmark replaced the schilling at a rate of two Reichsmarks to three schillings. The Austrian schilling was reintroduced on 30 November 1945 following the defeat of Germany in World War Two.

The Austrian schilling was divided into subunits called groschen, with 100 groschen making a schilling. Austria formally adopted the euro in 1999, though the schilling was still used alongside the euro until 2002.

Dual circulation ended on 28 February 2002, but the Österreichische Nationalbank (Austrian National Bank) continues to exchange schillings for euros at a rate of 13.7603 to one.

Irish pound

The Irish pound was initially known as the Saorstát pound and it was introduced in 1928, six years after the formation of the Irish free state in 1922. After 1938, the currency became widely known as the Irish pound, although it was pegged to the British pound at parity.

After 1938, the name ‘Irish pound’ was in widespread use and the currency was decimalised in 1971 while maintaining parity with the British pound. This changed in 1978, when Ireland elected to join the European Monetary System (EMS) but the UK did not. Within the EMS, the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) broke the peg between the Irish pound and the British pound, with a free-float exchange rate being introduced in 1979.

This meant that the currencies fluctuated against each other according to open market conditions. When the euro was adopted by Ireland, the exchange rate between Irish pounds and the euro was 0.787564 to one.

Finnish markka

The Finnish markka was the official currency of Finland from 1860 until 2002. The subunit of the markka was called the penni, with 100 pennies making a markka. Finland was one of the first countries to enter the eurozone, with the euro being used alongside the markka until 2002.

As with other countries who were quick to adopt the euro before 2002, this was to allow for a transitionary period of three years during which the euro would be used for bank transactions, travellers’ cheques and online transactions.

After the introduction of euro coins and banknotes on 1 January 2002, the markka continued to be accepted as legal tender until 28 February 2002. However, markka coins and notes were still exchangeable with euros at the Suomen Pankki (National Bank of Finland) until 2012, at a fixed rate of 5. 94573 to one.

Portuguese escudo

The Portuguese escudo was the currency of Portugal from 1911 until 2002. The escudo replaced the real at a rate of 1000 real to one escudo following a Republican revolution which took place in 1910. The escudo often used ‘$’ to denominate escudos alongside centavos, which was the subunit of the escudo – similar to British pounds and pence or US dollars and cents. For example, 675$00 would be $675 escudo, while 43$87 would be $43 escudos and 87 centavos.

Because Portugal remained neutral during World War Two, the escudo was prized by Nazi Germany as a foreign currency reserve which could be used to make purchases from Portugal and other neutral nations.

Following the war however, the escudo was plagued by inflation which effectively made centavos worthless, with the Banco de Portugal (National Bank of Portugal) electing to print higher denominations of the escudo including 500$, 1000$, 5000$ and 10,000$. When Portugal joined the eurozone in 1999, the conversion rate of escudo to euros was set at 200$482 to one. As with other currencies on this list, there was a transition period of three years until 2002, during which the escudo and euro were used alongside each other in Portugal.

Pre-euro currencies summed up

  • Many countries in Europe had their own unique pre-euro currency
  • The euro was adopted in 1999 by many EU member states at the time
  • While it was used in online transactions and between banks, euro banknotes and coins were not issued until 1 January 2002
  • After euro banknotes and coins were introduced, different periods of dual circulation were in effect to enable the pre-euro currencies to be effectively phased out
  • Not all EU member states currently use the euro as their main currency, although most are obliged to adopt the euro once they meet certain criteria

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The currency of Spain — the current situation and a digression into history

The currency of Spain, like in most countries of the European Union, is currently the euro. The euro was introduced in Spain in 2002 to facilitate financial transactions and travel within the union. At the moment, 18 of the 28 EU countries use this relatively young currency — in addition to Spain, these are Germany, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Portugal .

There are 7 euro banknotes in denominations of 500 €, 200 €, 100 €, 50 €, 20 €, 10 € and 5 €, as well as 8 euro coins in denominations of 2 €, 1 €, 0.50 €, 0.20 €, €0.10, €0.05, €0.02 and €0.01. A small coin of the euro, its «penny» is called the euro cent. All euro paper notes look the same, as does the reverse of the coin with its numerical value — the so-called «tails». But the obverse of the coin is individual for each country that produces such a coin. However, such coins are in circulation throughout the Eurozone.

The obverse of Spanish coins in denominations of one, two and five euro cents depicts the main facade of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, which is a shrine for Christians around the world. The Spanish 10, 20 and 50 euro cent coins depict the writer Miguel Cervantes, author of the famous Don Quixote. Coins of 1 and 2 euros depict a portrait of the now former Spanish king Juan Carlos I. It is worth noting that starting from 2015, Spanish coins of this denomination will bear a portrait of the new king of Spain, the son of Juan Carlos I Felipe VI.


  • 1 Special Coins
  • 2 Currency Spans to the euro
    • 2.1 Real
    • 2.2 ESCUDO
    • 2.3 peshet

Special coins

are also produced by a limited amount of Memorable Monetics of 2 Euro. There have been seven such coins in Spain so far. In 2005, a commemorative coin was dedicated to the release of the first edition of The Cunning Hidalgo of Don Quixote of La Mancha. In 2007, such a coin was issued in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which marked the elimination of all barriers to the free movement of people, goods, services and capital between Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Luxembourg. This treaty served as an important starting point for the creation of the European Union. In 20092009, a 2 euro commemorative coin was dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Economic and Monetary Union in Europe, which became the legal basis for the introduction of the euro. Finally, in 2010-2013, coins were dedicated to various UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain — the historic center of Cordoba, Alhambra, Albaicin, the Cathedral of Burgos and the Escorial Monastery.

Spanish currency before the euro

The former Spanish currency before the euro consists of three main coins — real, escudo and peseta. The main changes that took place with Spanish money before the euro are associated with the emergence of new names for old coins of a certain denomination, which, in turn, eventually turned into independent units of exchange.


Real was the main Spanish currency for many centuries — from the middle of the 14th century until 1864, when it was replaced by the escudo in the Spanish economy. The real was introduced by King Pedro I of Castile as a standard coin, equivalent to three maravedis, older Iberian gold and silver coins. Eight reales were equal to the silver peso, also called the dollar, which also began to be issued as a separate coin. Spanish minted coins were found in the markets of the whole world, especially in Asia and America.


The name «escudo» refers to two types of Spanish coins — gold and silver. The first Spanish escudo was minted in gold in 1566. The last gold escudo was minted in 1833. The silver escudo was minted from 1864 until it was replaced by a new coin, the peseta. Each escudo at a certain stage was worth a certain amount of the already mentioned reales — more ancient Spanish coins.


Before the euro, the Spanish currency was called peseta. Pesetas have been used throughout the country since 1869to 2002 The word «peseta» (peseta in Spanish) itself comes from the word peçeta — a diminutive form of the word Peça in Catalan. Literally from Catalan to Russian, peçeta translates as «piece». In the 15th century, this word was used to refer to a silver coin, and in the Middle Ages, the word denoted the value of two reales. In October 1868, a decree was issued establishing the peseta as the national currency of Spain in the name of strengthening the economy, facilitating trade and establishing a stable financial system. At the same time, Spain entered the Latin Monetary Union, created to unify several European monetary systems. The countries participating in this union agreed to bring their currencies to a bimetallic standard with a fixed ratio between gold and silver.

On July 1, 1874, the first banknotes were printed in denominations of 25, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 pesetas. Such banknotes at that time were available only to banks and other financial institutions. In total, two million banknotes were issued in the first series.

In subsequent series, pesetas were issued in the same denominations until 1935. Due to the devaluation of the peseta and the rise in the cost of silver, coins of 5 pesetas began to be sold as precious metal at a higher price. This led the government of the Spanish Republic to issue 5 and 10 peseta banknotes as «silver certificates» and withdraw the coins from circulation.

During the Spanish Civil War, the country’s economy fell into decline, and with it the Spanish currency. The Bank of Spain had to print banknotes in denominations of 50 centimos, 1, 2, 5 and 10 pesetas due to the inability to buy metal for minting coins.

In 1974, there were about 700 million pesetas in circulation in Spain, and in 1978 there were over a billion of them. This was due to the fact that, despite inflation, the 1000 pesetas remained the largest banknote in Spain, and for serious purchases, the Spaniards had to carry a lot of paper with them.

Because of this, starting in the 1970s, banknotes of smaller denominations began to be withdrawn from circulation in Spain. In 1976, a banknote of 5000 pesetas was issued for the first time. In 1979, the penultimate series of banknotes was issued, in which each banknote of a certain denomination had its own color. During the 1980s, banknotes in denominations of 2000 and 5000 pesetas were also added to the series. In 1982, Spain stopped printing banknotes of 100 pesetas and less, and in 1987, instead of banknotes of 200 and 500 pesetas, coins of the same denomination began to circulate.

In 1992, the last series of banknotes of 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10000 pesetas was issued, and in 1997 the notes of the previous series were withdrawn from circulation. Up until the introduction of the euro in 2002, the Spanish currency consisted of these four banknotes.

If you suddenly have pesetas lying around, they can still be exchanged for euros at the Bank of Spain. Spaniards love their former national currency, and older people still often convert prices to pesetas. In small print, prices in peseta are also written in some Spanish stores, and in the city of Estepona there is even a monument to the peseta.

If you have any questions about the Spanish Currency, you can leave it in the comments or send us an email. We will be happy to assist you.

What is the currency in Spain in 2022? Money of Spain

The modern monetary unit in Spain is the euro. Before joining the EU, Spain had its own unique currency. Throughout the country, the so-called pesetas were in use. Old money can still be exchanged for euros at any public Spanish bank, but it is quite difficult to see the price tags in pesetas. Today, this is possible only in the provinces in small family shops.

History of money in Spanish

Pesetas originated in 1869. This currency was competitive with the French franc, and had weight throughout Andorra.

The authorities divided the peseta into 100 centimos. Another peseta was equal to 4 reais, this state of affairs persisted until 1970. The name of this money in translation meant «a small piece» .

The entry of the old money was due to the entry of the Spanish state into the Latin Union. The peseta has replaced the escudo. She had support in gold and silver.

After the collapse of the Latin Union, the peseta was deliberately pegged to the US dollar. Only 60 units of currency equaled one dollar.

When the European Union became stronger in Europe, the peseta was changed to the standard euro. The currency change took place in 2002.

The coins of that time had one peculiarity: they were issued with a hole in the center .

Fancy money is still loved by the older generation of Spaniards. They are kind to old pesetas, as a long period of their life is associated with them.

Euro and new currency rules

Euro banknotes in Spain are issued in standard denominations from 500 to 5 euros. Coins are now called euro cents, or simply cents. In the iron equivalent, cents are in 1, 2, 5, 10, as well as 20 and 50 units.

Today, the amount that does not exceed the established currency threshold of 10 thousand euros can be imported into the country. Even less can be exported from the Spanish state — only 8400 euros. The surplus will have to be declared, as well as the nature of their origin explained at the customs.

The most convenient way to pay in Spain is in cash. Cards and their credit counterparts are not as common in these territories as in other EU countries.

If paying for something for a tourist involves a cashless payment, then in some places you may be asked to show passport data. If the document is not with you, then a copy of it will do.

Currency exchange in Spain takes place literally at every turn. Here and there, exchangers shine with signboards, and street money changers invite tourists, but the best rate and minimum commissions can only be obtained in official banks of the country.

Spanish banks are open 6 days a week in winter. In summer, Saturday becomes a day off. The working hours of banking institutions are also a bit unusual. Banks begin their activities at 8.30, and finish their work at exactly 14 o’clock in the afternoon.

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