The origins of the Peso date back to the early Spanish Empire when the 8-real silver coin became known as a Peso.
The word literally means ‘weight’ in Spanish.
The Peso is the name for many historic and current currencies in parts of the world that were once colonised by Spain. The most significant being Mexico and the Philippines.
Currently, eight countries have a Peso as their currency. They are listed below.
Argentinian Peso (ARS)
The Peso has been the currency of Argentina in one form or another for the last two hundred years. One of the first versions in the early 19th century was known as the ‘Peso fuerte.’
Argentina has been ravaged by inflation throughout its history. The currency has been either replaced or re-denominated a number of times.
Today’s Peso was initially knows at the ‘Peso convertible.’ It replaced the ‘Austral’ in 1992.
Other Argentine Peso’s include the ‘Peso moneda corriente’, ‘Peso moneda nacional’, ‘Peso ley’ and ‘Peso argentino.’
Argentina at present is undergoing another period of aggressive inflation. Today the smallest denomination banknote is the 100 peso, which features an image of Eva Peron.
Chilean Peso (CLP)
The current Chilean Peso was introduced in 1975, it replaced a Peso currency that had circulated in the nation since 1817!
Like many currencies in South America, the Peso has experienced high period of inflation. At present for example, the smallest Banknote is worth 1000 pesos, going up all the way to 20,000.
For a long time the Peso was pegged to the US Dollar, however in recent years it has been allowed to float freely.
Colombian Peso (COP)
Columbia has used the Peso since 1837 making it one of the world’s more older currencies. It replaced the Columbian Real.
Throughout the last 50 years, the Colombian Peso has been subject to rampant inflation. It has been re-denominated many times.
Whilst technically divided into 100 Centavos, this subunit was removed from circulation in the 80s!
The smallest coin in circulation today is worth Col$ $100
Cuban Peso (CUP)
The Cuban Peso dates its origins back to the Spanish Colonial currency. In the mid 1800s the Spanish administration began to produce their own currency locally with the first Cuban Peso banknotes being printed in 1852.
At one period of time, it was pegged to the US Dollar, but this all changed during the Cold War. The US embargo has dramatically impacted the currency’s value. For a long time the currency was pegged to the Soviet Ruble
The country today has a very complex and intricate monetary policy. Trying to explain would require a whole separate article!
Dominican Republic Peso (DOP)
The current version of the Dominican Peso or ‘peso dominicano’ has been in use since 2011.
This new peso replaced the ‘Pesos Oro.’ The Peso has been the name of the currency of the country in one form or another since the mid 1800s when the country gained independence from Haiti.
The currency is managed by the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic which is based in the Capital Santo Domingo. The government allows the US Dollar to be used for transactions.
Mexican Peso (MXP)
The Peso has been the currency of Mexico since the mid 1800s. The current Mexican Peso is also sometimes referred to as the “Nuevo Peso” or “New Peso.” It was first introduced in 1993, replacing the old Mexican Peso at a rate of 1,000 to 1.
The MXN is issued by the Bank of Mexico. In some places in Mexico, the US Dollar is used instead of MXN.
You can read more on our dedicated MXN currency profile.
Philippine Peso (PHP)
The Peso has been in use in the Philippines in one form or another since the Spanish conquistadors landed on their shores back in the 1500s.
In the early 1990s the country undertook a set of major structural financial reforms and established a new central bank: the ‘Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ which today is seen as one of the more innovative fiscal bodies in the region.
The Philippine Peso is free-floating on currency markets yet is subject to several controls. It’s very difficult to transfer this currency outside of the Philippines.
Despite this, in the last survey by the Bank for International Settlements, PHP was the 30th most traded currency and accounted for on average 0.3% of the daily volume of FX transactions.
Uruguayan Peso (UYU)
For as long as Uruguay has been in existence as a political unit, it has used the Peso (in one form or another.)
Today’s Peso, the ‘Peso uruguayo’, was introduced in 1993 and replaced the ‘nuevos pesos’ which had experienced (like many of Uruguay’s currencies) rampant inflation.
Today Uruguay is in an advanced state of creating a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the e-peso.
You can read more about CBDC’s in our dedicated article ‘What is a CBDC’.’