Mexico, Charles IV. Colonial Silver 8 Reales Coin. Spanish Bust Dollar!
This currency was legal tender in the USA until 1857!
Denomination: 8 Reales
Mint Place: Mexico (Mo)
Reference: 1807-MoTH, KM-109.
Assayer: Tomas Butron Miranda & Henrique Buenaventura Azorin (TH)
Obverse: Laureate, draped, and cuirassed profile bust of Charles IV with roman armor right.
Latin Legend: CAROLUS . IIII . DEI . GRATIA . 1807
Translation: "Charles IIII by the Grace of God, 1807"
Reverse: Crowned Spanish* arms between the Pillars of Hercules adorned with PLVS VLTRA motto.
Legend: .HISPAN[IARUM].ET IND[IARUM].REX.Mo[Mexico Monogram].8R [EALES] T.H.[Assayer Name]
Translation: "King of the Spains and the Indies, Mexico [Mint], 8 reales".
*Details on the Spanish Arms: arms of Castile and LeÃ³n, with Granada in base and an inescutcheon of Anjou.
The Spanish dollar (also known as the piece of eight, the real de a ocho, or the eight real coin) is a silver coin, worth eight reales, that was minted in the Spanish Empire after a Spanish currency reform of 1497. It was legal tender in the United States until an Act of the United States Congress discontinued the practice in 1857. Through widespread use in Europe, the Americas and the Far East, it became the first world currency by the late 18th century. Many existing currencies, such as the Canadian dollar, United States dollar and the Chinese yuan, as well as currencies in Latin America and the Philippines peso were initially based on the Spanish dollar and other 8 reales coins.
Charles IV (November 11, 1748 – January 20, 1819) was King of Spain from December 14, 1788 until his abdication on March 19, 1808.
Charles was the second son of Charles III and his wife Maria Amalia of Saxony. He was born at Portici, while his father was king of the Two Sicilies. His elder brother Don Felipe was passed over for the two thrones as mentally retarded and epileptic.
Charles had inherited a great frame and immense physical strength from the Saxon line of his mother, granddaughter of August the Strong. When young he was fond of wrestling with the strongest countrymen he could find. He was considered by many to be intellectually sluggish and quite credulous.
In 1788, Charles III died and Charles IV succeeded to the throne. Even though he had a profound belief in the sanctity of his office and kept up the appearance of an absolute, powerful monarch, he never took more than a passive part in the direction of his own government, occupying himself with hunting. The affairs of government he left to his wife and his prime minister. In 1793, Maria Louis finally succeeded in ousting the Count of Floridablanca from office and had him replaced with Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, Count of Aranda, the chief of the Aragonese party. However, in the wake of the war against Republican France, the liberal-leaning Count of Aranda was replaced by Manuel de Godoy, a favourite of the Queen and allegedly her lover, who would henceforth enjoy the lasting favour of the King.
Godoy continued Aranda’s policy of neutrality towards France but after Spain protested against the execution of the deposed king in 1793, France declared war on Spain and in 1795 forced Godoy to conclude an alliance and declared war on Great Britain.
In 1803, after smallpox had affected his daughter MarÃa LuÃsa, the king commissioned his doctor Francisco Javier de Balmis to bring the vaccine to the Spanish colonies on state expenses.
Spain remained an ally of France and supported the Continental Blockade until the the British naval victory at Trafalgar. However, After Napoleon’s victory over Prussia in 1807, Godoy again steared Spain back onto the French side. This switching back and forth devalued Charles' position as a trustworthy ally while the return to the French alliance increased Godoy’s unpopularity and strenghtened partido fernandista, the supporters of Crown Prince Ferdinand, who favored a close relationship with Great Britain.
When King Charles was told that his son Ferdinand was appealing to Napoleon against Godoy, he took the side of the minister. When the populace rose at Aranjuez in 1808 he abdicated on March 19, in favour of his son, to save the minister who had been taken prisoner. Ferdinand took the throne as Ferdinand VII, but was distrusted by Napoleon who had 100,000 soldiers in Spain by that time.
Charles IV found refuge in France, and became a prisoner of Napoleon: the latter, posing as arbiter, summoned both Charles IV and his son to Bayonne in April and coaxed Charles (who found a difficult time restraining himself from assaulting his son) to retract his earlier abdication and abdicate, on May 5, 1808, in favour of Napoleon.