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Obverse of 1897 Philippine 1 Peso, Spanish Rule
Obverse of 1897 Philippine 1 Peso, Spanish Rule

Reverse of 1897 Philippine 1 Peso, Spanish Rule
Reverse of 1897 Philippine 1 Peso, Spanish Rule

A Brief History of the Philippines
The Philippine Archipelago was first discovered and colonised by the Spanish in 1521. It was governed as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain until 1821, and thereafter as a separate colony with the seat of government in Manila.
The Philippine Revolution, a war for independence, broke out in 1896. When America declared war on Spain in 1898 following the Sinking of the USS Maine, the Spanish were ejected from the Philippines.
However, the following year, the fighting broke out between the Americans and the Filipino revolutionaries when the Americans decided to take the Philippines on as a colony for themselves. This brutal war lasted until 1902, and ended in the defeat of the Filipinos.
The Philippines eventually gained self-government in 1934, but was invaded and occupied by the Japanese during World War II. After the War, in 1946, the Philippines were granted full independence.
Following Independence, the country struggled to rebuild itself after the ravages of war. In 1965, the notorious Ferdinand Marcos came to power, governing as a brutal dictator until 1986, when he was overthrown and the country returned to democratic rule.

Coinage of the Philippines
The earliest coins of the Philippines were tiny gold piloncitos (which do not look too dissimi-lar to Indian gold Fanams) used for trade amongst the early pre-Spanish Filipinos. The arrival of the Spanish in 1521 saw the introduction of Spanish currency to the archipelago, chiefly based around the silver teston, or four-reale piece. Later, the Spanish 8 Reale Piece of 8 (known colloquially as the ‘Peso’) became the standard unit of currency.
The decimalisation of Spanish Currency in the middle of the 19th Century eventually saw a similar reform in the Philippines. In 1861, a mint was established by the Spanish in Manila for the specific purpose of supplying the colony with coinage, and the Philippines was fully converted to decimal currency in 1864, with a currency consisting of a Peso sub dividable into 100 Centimos.
The Spanish-Filipino Peso was de-monetised in 1904 in favour of a US-Philippine Peso, which was subdivided into 100 Centavos. The American coat of arms subsequently graced the obverse of Filipino currency until independence in 1946.
Rapid inflation post-war saw the removal of precious metal coinage in 1958. Since the 1960s, the coinage of the Philippines has been struck in the native Tagalog language, rather than Spanish, which is no longer an official language within the Philippines. The local name for the peso is ‘piso’, but is still known outside of the country as the ‘peso’.

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