Portuguese Escudo

The escudo was the currency of Portugal prior to the introduction of the Euro on 1 January 1999 and was removed from circulation on 28 February 2002. The ISO 4217 code of the escudo was PTE. The escudo was subdivided into 100 centavos. Its symbol was the cifrão (), similar to the dollar sign, but with two strokes. Amounts in escudos were written as escudos$centavos with the cifrão as the decimal separator (e.g. 25$00 means 25 escudos, 100$50 means 100 escudos and 50 centavos). Because of the conversion rate of 1000 réis = 1 escudo, three decimal places were initially used (1 escudo = 1$000). Escudo is Portuguese for “shield”.

The escudo was introduced on 22 May 1911, after the 1910 Republican revolution, to replace the real at the rate of 1,000 réis to 1 escudo. The term mil réis (thousand réis) remained a colloquial synonym of escudo up to the 1990s. One million réis was called one conto de réis, or simply one conto. This expression passed on to the escudo, meaning 1,000 escudos.
The escudo’s value was initially set at 4$50 escudos = 1 pound sterling. After 1914, the value of the escudo fell, being fixed in 1928 at 108$25 to the pound. This was altered to 110$00 escudos to the pound in 1931. A new rate of 27$50 escudos to the U.S. dollar was established in 1940, changing to 25$00 in 1940 and 28$75 in 1949.
Inflation throughout the 20th century made centavos essentially worthless by its end, with fractional value coins with values such as $50 or 2$50 eventually withdrawn from circulation in the 1990s. With the entry of Portugal in the Eurozone, the conversion rate to the euro was set at 200$482 escudos to €1.

Between 1912 and 1916, silver 10, 20 and 50 centavos and 1 escudo coins were issued. Bronze 1 and 2 centavos and cupro-nickel 4 centavos were issued between 1917 and 1922.
In 1920, bronze 5 centavos and cupro-nickel 10 and 20 centavos were introduced, followed, in 1924, by bronze 10 and 20 centavos and aluminium bronze 50 centavos and 1 escudo. Aluminium bronze was replaced with cupro-nickel in 1927.
In 1932, silver coins were introduced for 2½, 5 and 10 escudos. The 2½ and 5 escudos were minted until 1951, with the 10 escudos minted until 1955 with a reduced silver content. In 1963, cupro-nickel 2½ and 5 escudos were introduced, followed by aluminium 10 centavos, bronze 20 and 50 centavos and 1 escudo in 1969. Cupro-nickel 10 and 25 escudos were introduced in 1971 and 1977, respectively. In 1986, a new coinage was introduced which circulated until replacement by the euro. It consisted of nickel-brass 1, 5 and 10 escudos, cupro-nickel 20 and 50 escudos, with bimetallic 100 and 200 escudos introduced in 1989 and 1991.
Coins in circulation at the time of the changeover to the euro were:
1 escudo (.50 cent)
5 escudos (2.49 cent)
10 escudos (4.99 cent)
20 escudos (9.98 cent)
50 escudos (24.94 cent)
100 escudos (49.88 cent)
200 escudos (99.76 cent)
Coins ceased to be exchangeable for euro on December 31, 2002.
Another name for the 50 centavos coin was coroa (crown). Long after the 50 centavos coins disappeared, people still called the 2$50 coins cinco coroas (five crowns).
Also, people still referred to escudos at the time of the changeover in multiples of the older currency real (plural reis). Many people called the 2$50 coins dois e quinhentos (two and five-hundreds), referring to the correspondence 2$50 = 2500 reis. Tostão (plural tostões) is yet another multiple of real, with 1 tostão = 10 reis.

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