Spanish dollar

Also known as a ‘piece of eight’, this large silver coin was minted in Spain from 1497. Widely used in the Americas, Europe and the Far East, it became a form of world currency and was widely used in trade, including within the British Empire, where there was often a shortage of coinage. It was the basis for the American dollar and equated to approximately one dollar in value. Pieces of eight were also associated in the popular imagination with piracy.

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