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This module contextualizes a ten pesos Mexican banknote (1823) printed on an eighteenth century Catholic bull, according to the timeline of Mexican history. It is geared toward jr. high or high school students.

One of the interesting documents available on the Our Americas Archive Partnership site is a ten pesos Mexican banknote. This banknote was put into circulation in May 1823, after the fall of Agustin de Iturbide’s First Mexican Empire. It is important to contextualize this document within Mexican history in order to understand its importance.

Independence, empire, and the republic of mexico

Mexico’s War of Independence from Spain began on September 16, 1810 and ended in 1821. In 1821, after the proclamation of the Plan of Iguala (in February) and the Treaty of Cordoba (in August of the same year), which recognized Mexican independence from Spain, Agustin de Iturbide was proclaimed President of the Regency. Not long afterward, in May 1822, Iturbide crowned himself First Emperor of Mexico. Iturbide abdicated his throne in March 1823, after the signing of Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana’s Plan of Casa Mata, which sought to reinstate the Mexican Congress, declare the empire null, and no longer recognize Iturbide as the emperor.

Agustín de iturbide

Iturbide
Iturbide , President of the Regency and 1 st Emperor of Mexico

Stephen f. austin and the colonization of texas

Before the conclusion of Mexico’s War of Independence, Moses Austin received a land grant for the colonization of Texas. His son, Stephen F. Austin, began to fulfill these plans after his father’s death in December 1821, but was impeded by Iturbide’s provisional government, established after independence. This new government refused to recognize this grant; they preferred to pass an immigration law in its place. As a result, Austin travelled to Mexico City to ask Iturbide and his rump congress to approve his land grant. After Iturbide’s abdication and the fall of the First Mexican Empire in 1823, Austin had to ask the Mexican Congress once again to recognize the original land grant for colonization (Barker).

Brief history of mexican currency

The history of currency in Mexican is situated within the nation’s turbulent history. During the War of Independence New Spain’s mines– which supplied the gold, silver, and copper for minting coins– were abandoned. Due to the poor economic situation and the abandonment of the mines, Mexico turned to paper currency (or banknotes) in 1822, during Emperor Iturbide’s reign. The general public, however, was used to using coins and, consequently, rejected these banknotes (“Conoce la historia”).

After the fall of the Empire in 1823, the new Mexican Republic retired the imperial banknote from circulation as part of their efforts to reestablish the public’s trust in the government’s financial management. The poor economic situation, however, did not improve and the government decided to print paper currency or banknotes, once again (“Conoce la historia”).

Ten pesos

diez_pesos
Ten pesos (1823) Mexican banknote, issued by the National Treasury

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Source:  OpenStax, Print culture in the americas. OpenStax CNX. Aug 05, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11320/1.4
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