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The vast country of Argentina was discovered in 1516 and a permanent Spanish colony was set-up by 1580 at Buenos Aires. Argentineans established their own government in 1810 when Napoleon the Great conquered Spain. Before Independence coinage consisted that of La Plata, Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Entre Rios, La Rioja, Mendoza, Salta and Santiago Del Estero. In 1816, independence was formally obtained. However, internal conflict through the first half century resulted in a provisional Confederation National Coinage, chiefly of crown-sized silver. Reales, escudos, and pesos along with coins of its own called – sol, named in the honor of the country’s Spanish discoverer Juan Diaz de Solis, were now in use.
In 1826, two versions of Argentine peso called ‘Peso Fuerte’ (which was convertible at a rate of 17 to one Spanish ounce of fine gold) and the non-convertible ‘Peso Moneda Corriente’ (everyday currency) were induced. Both of these Argentina coins were converted into one by 1881 with formation of the Republic. They were now called the ‘Peso Moneda Nacional’. Exchange rate was fixed at 1 peso moneda nacional = 1 peso fuerte = 25 peso moneda corriente = 8 reales. In 1970 the Argentine peso was revalued at the rate of 100 to 1 which formed the ‘Peso ley’. This lasted till 1983 where ‘Peso argentino’ – not to be confused with argentino, the name for an older 10 peso gold coin, was born just before the return of democracy. 10,000 pesos was equal to one peso argentino.
The year of 1985 saw the introduction of the ‘austral’ whose name was derived from a Spanish adjective meaning ‘southern’. The austral was exchanged for 1000 pesos; in 1992 the peso was reintroduced at the new peso, in exchange for 10,000 australs. It was also referred as ‘peso convertible’ as the international exchange rate was fixed by the Central Bank was 1 peso to 1 US Dollar. This was later abandoned after the financial crisis of 2001.
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