More than 500 years have passed since our ancestors used cocoa as its currency. The evolution of the Salvadorian monetary system has walked through all these years, on par with the transformation of our economy, our society and way of seeing the world that we have had in the different stages of our history.
Barter was a form of Commerce, the use of cocoa as exchange value dates back to the rise of Maya civilization. This is how the pre-Columbian ancients used cocoa as currency, considering the chocolate drink of the gods.
The Spaniards introduced the use of its currency: the Real. However, cocoa continued to be used, with an equivalence of 200 cocoa almonds for 1 Real.
The rise of the currency
The first coins that circulated in our country were minted in Spain, until in 1731, the first Mint was founded in Guatemala. However, most used currencies for the colony were the so called Macacos or bulls.
Macaques were silver, irregularly shaped pieces, minted in Peru and Mexico, which were cut with pliers and had recorded the pillars of Hercules with the inscription “Plus Ultra”.
Contemporary to the macaques appeared property sheets, which were brass, almost all had circular and differing in the recording of the name of the farm. That time come from some of the popular as silver, Bulls, chips or maracandacas names.
The Declaration of independence of Central America, also marked the beginning of another stage in the history of the currency, the weight of silver continued to be the main currency, but was coined the first regional currency whose aim was to commemorate the independence.
The first changes took place a few years later, when the Government decreed a national currency in gold and silver coinage. The pieces of silver had a R which meant real and those of gold had one E, shield. Macaques followed also used after independence, to the degree that the 9 July 1846 settled its legal course.
It was until 1883, under the Presidency of the Dr. Rafael Zaldívar, who was declared the first monetary law, adopting the weight as a unit and was discarded system Spanish Division of weight into 8 Reales, establishing by law the Decimal metric system, where the weight was equivalent to 10 reais.
In 1892. El Salvador Mint issued coins in the denominations of one cent in copper, five, ten, twenty, fifty cents and a weight in silver. Two and half, five, ten and twenty dollars in gold.
Shortly afterwards, to commemorate the IV centenary of the discovery of America, by legislative decree a weight coin design was changed. Instead of displaying the national flag, was placed the effigy of Spanish Explorer Cristóbal Colón. This same change occurred in the fifty-cent coin. In addition the Salvadoran currency was christened with a new name: El Colón.
Coins of El Salvador once again changed its designs and content from 1915, in that year the coins were made of nickel in denominations of one, three and five cents, with the bust of General Francisco Morazán. Under the same designs 10-cent coin was introduced in 1921. The bust of General Francisco Morazán was maintained in all the coinage of one, two, three, five and ten cents made during the 20th century and the 25 cents silver of the years 1943 and 1944.
A new design was introduced in 1953 in denominations of 25 and 50 cents, they showed the image of the priest José Matías Delgado and the value in the wreath on the reverse. Originally minted in silver, they were reprinted in the years 70’s and 80’s in nickel.
At the end of the century ancestor introduced a very innovative change in the Salvadorian monetary system; the first banknotes are. The name of bank notes was that the issue was in charge of private banks authorized by the Government. El Salvador first banknotes were issued by the International Bank, founded in 1880.
Later other two issuing banks were established: the Western Bank and the Banco Agricola commercial of that time. At the end of the century ancestor must mention two very important events: the first was the opening of the Mint, on August 28, 1892, during the Presidency of the General Ezeta Carlos. The second important fact on October 1, 1892, when, as a tribute to Cristóbal Colón in the IV centenary of the discovery of America, the legislature reformed the monetary law of 1883, changed its name to our monetary unit, weight to Columbus. He was decreed that its value against the dollar out of 2 x 1.
The first family of banknotes in El Salvador
The Central Bank since 1934 had main function, ensure monetary stability in El Salvador. It is as well as on August 31, 1934, BCR would put in circulation the first family of banknotes, in the history of El Salvador, in denominations of: one, two, five, ten, twenty-five and a hundred colones, which subsequently added the 50 colones in 1979.
Since 1934, the year in which the Central Bank issued the first banknotes, these were modified separately, changing a little your design, or disappearing a few denominations and appearing new ones.
The second family of banknotes
In 1997, sixty-three years after the first issue of banknotes, the Central Bank issues, the second family of banknotes in the history of El Salvador, which responds to the modernization of the State and the needs of all sectors of the country.
The new notes are manufactured with high safety and higher quality paper, so keep a good look with the passage of time, they also have the highest global technology security controls, to prevent counterfeiting.
The arrival of the dollar
The first of January of the year 2001, in El Salvador, entered into force the “law of integration monetary”, which established the free circulation of the dollar, currency of the United States of America, to a peg of 8.75 colones Salvadoran per dollar; It was established that the Central Reserve Bank already not would issue more banknotes or coins in colones or fractions of colon and, gradually, the colons would be collected by local banks and would be replaced by US dollars.
Although the law also provided that both currencies can circulate freely, it was obvious that the colons gradually ceased to circular, and the dollar is converted into the new currency of El Salvador.