Portuguese escudo

The Portuguese escudo is the currency of Portugal prior to the introduction of the euro on 1 January 1999 and its removal from circulation on 28 February 2002. The escudo was subdivided into 100 centavos. The word escudo means "shield".

Amounts in escudos were written as escudos $ centavos with the cifrão as the decimal separator (e.g. 25$00 means $25.00, 100$50 means $100.50). Because of the conversion rate of 1000 réis = $1, three decimal places were initially used ($1 = 1$000).

Portuguese escudo
Escudo português  (Portuguese)
Portugal 1 escudo Portugal 1 escudo 2
1 escudo (1993)
ISO 4217
SymbolCifrão symbol.svg ($; substituted with ⟨$⟩ when ⟨$⟩ not available)
 Freq. used500$, 1,000$, 2,000$, 5,000$, 10,000$ (2001)
 Freq. used1$, 5$, 10$, 20$, 50$, 100$, 200$ (2001)
User(s)None, previously:
Central bankBanco de Portugal
MintImprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda
Inflation2.8% (2000)
 Since19 June 1989
 Fixed rate since31 December 1998
 Replaced by €, non cash1 January 1999
 Replaced by €, cash1 January 2002
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.


Escudo gold coinage was initially introduced in 1722 with denominations including ​12 escudo,[1] 2, 4, and 8 escudos,[2] and were minted generally during the 18th century.

The escudo (non-gold) was again 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$.

The escudo's value was initially set at 675$00 = 1 kg of gold. After 1914, the value of the escudo fell, being fixed in 1928 at 108$25 to the Pound Sterling. This was altered to 110$00 to the Pound Sterling 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.

During World War II, escudos were heavily sought after by Nazi Germany, through Swiss banks, as foreign currency to make purchases to Portugal and other neutral nations.[3]

Inflation throughout the 20th century made centavos essentially worthless by its end, with fractional value coins with values such as 0$50 and 2$50 eventually withdrawn from circulation in the 1990s.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 to €1.[4]

Territorial usage

The escudo was used in the Portuguese mainland, the Azores and Madeira, with no distinction of coins or banknotes. In Portugal's African colonies, the escudo was generally used up to independence, with Portuguese and sometime local coins circulating alongside banknotes of the Banco Nacional Ultramarino, rather than those of the Bank of Portugal used on the mainland. For more details, see the escudos of Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Portuguese Guinea and São Tomé and Príncipe. Only Cape Verde continues to use the escudo. In Macau, the currency during the colonial period was, as it is today, the pataca. Timor-Leste adopted the escudo whilst still a Portuguese colony, having earlier used the pataca. Portuguese India adopted the escudo before it was annexed by India.


Portugal 1729 8 Escudos
Portuguese 8 gold escudos (1729)
Portugal: 4 centavos 1917
0$50 of 1926
Portogallo 200 escudos
200$00 of 1991

The gold escudo mintage period for each denomination (introduced in 1722) was different: ​12 escudo through 1821,[5] 2 escudos through 1789,[6] and 4 escudos through 1799.[7] The eight-escudo coin was only struck between 1722 and 1730.[2]

Between 1912 and 1916, silver ten-, twenty- and fifty-centavo and one-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 ​2 12, 5 and 10 escudos. The ​2 12 and 5 escudos were minted until 1951, with the 10 escudos minted until 1955 with a reduced silver content. In 1963, cupro-nickel ​2 12 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 (0.50 cent)
  • 5 escudos (2.49 cents)
  • 10 escudos (4.99 cents)
  • 20 escudos (9.98 cents)
  • 50 escudos (24.94 cents)
  • 100 escudos (49.88 cents)
  • 200 escudos (99.76 cents)

Coins ceased to be exchangeable for euro on December 31, 2002.

Another name for the 50-centavo coin was coroa (crown). Long after the 50-centavo 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 réis). 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 réis.


The Casa da Moeda issued notes for 5, 10 and 20 centavos between 1917 and 1925 whilst, between 1913 and 1922, the Banco de Portugal introduced notes for 50 centavos, 1, ​2 12, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 escudos. Fifty-centavo and 1-escudo notes ceased production in 1920, followed by ​2 12, 5 and 10 escudos in 1925 and 1926. Five-thousand-escudo notes were introduced in 1942.

The last 20- and 50-escudo notes were printed dated 1978 and 1980, respectively, with 100-escudo notes being replaced by coins in 1989, the same year that 10,000-escudo notes were introduced.

Banknotes in circulation at the time of the changeover to the euro were:

  • 500 escudos (€2.49)
  • 1,000 escudos (€4.99)
  • 2,000 escudos (€9.98)
  • 5,000 escudos (€24.94)
  • 10,000 escudos (€49.88)

The last series of escudo banknotes can be returned to the central bank Banco de Portugal and converted to euros until 28 February 2022.

Escudo banknotes celebrated notable figures from the history of Portugal. The final banknote series featured the Age of Discovery, with João de Barros, Pedro Álvares Cabral, Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama, and Henry the Navigator.

The last 100-escudo banknote represented Fernando Pessoa, the famous Portuguese writer and poet.

Banknotes of the Portuguese escudo (1995–2000 "Portuguese Seafarers & Explorers" Issue)
Image Value Equivalent in Euros (€) Main Color Obverse Reverse Watermark
[1] 500 escudos €2.49 Violet and brown João de Barros Allegory of the Age of Discovery João de Barros
[2] 1,000 escudos €4.99 Purple and brown Pedro Álvares Cabral Sailing ship, animals of Brazil Pedro Álvares Cabral
[3] 2,000 escudos €9.98 Blue-violet and deep blue-green Bartolomeu Dias; Cruzado coin of Dom João II Sailing ship, compass card, map Bartolomeu Dias
[4] 5,000 escudos €24.94 Deep olive-green and brown-violet Vasco da Gama Sailing ship, Vasco da Gama with authorities in Calicut Vasco de Gama
[5] 10,000 escudos €49.88 Violet and dark brown Henry the Navigator (Infante Dom Henrique) Sailing ship Henry the Navigator (Infante Dom Henrique)

Colloquial expressions

Conto was the unofficial multiple of the escudo: 1 conto meant 1,000$00, 2 contos meant 2,000$00 and so on. The original expression was conto de réis, which means "one count of réis" and referred to one million réis. Since the escudo was worth 1,000 réis (the older currency), therefore one conto was the same as a thousand escudos. The expression remained in usage after the advent of the euro, albeit less often, meaning €5, roughly worth 1,000 escudos.

Occasionally paus, literally meaning "sticks", was also used to refer to the escudo ("Tens mil paus?" – "Do you have 1,000 escudos/sticks?"). During the move from escudos to euros the Portuguese had a joke saying that they had lost three currencies: the escudo, the conto, and the pau.

See also


  1. ^ Cuhaj 2009, p. 1146.
  2. ^ a b Cuhaj 2013, pp. 1254-55.
  3. ^ Hayes, Peter (1 April 2015). "How Was It Possible?: A Holocaust Reader". U of Nebraska Press. Retrieved 8 April 2018 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Use of the euro". European Central Bank. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  5. ^ Cuhaj 2009, p. 1147.
  6. ^ Cuhaj 2013, p. 1253.
  7. ^ Cuhaj 2013, p. 1254.


External links

Preceded by
Portuguese real
Portuguese currency
Succeeded by
Angolan angolar

The angolar (plural: angolares) was the currency of Portuguese Angola between 1928 and 1958. It was subdivided into 100 centavos or 20 macutas. Angolar is Portuguese for "of Angola".

Angolan escudo

The escudo was the currency of Angola between 1914 and 1928 and again between 1958 and 1977. It was subdivided into 100 centavos with the macuta worth 5 centavos and was equivalent to the Portuguese escudo.

Cape Verdean escudo

The escudo (sign: ; ISO 4217: CVE) is the currency of the Republic of Cape Verde.

Amounts are generally written by using the cifrão as the decimal separator, such as 2000 for 20 escudos, or 1.00000 for 1000.


The centavo (Spanish and Portuguese 'one hundredth') is a fractional monetary unit that represents one hundredth of a basic monetary unit in many countries around the world. The term comes from Latin centum, ('one hundred'), with the added suffix -avo ('portion').


The cifrão (Portuguese pronunciation: [siˈfɾɐ̃w̃] (listen)) is a currency sign similar to the dollar sign ($) but always written with two vertical lines: . It is the symbol of the former Portuguese currency and other past Brazilian currencies such as the Brazilian real (sign: R$; ISO: BRL) and is the official sign of the Cape Verdean escudo (ISO 4217: CVE).

It was formerly used by the Portuguese escudo (ISO: PTE) before its replacement by the euro and by the Portuguese Timor escudo (ISO: TPE) before its replacement by the Indonesian rupiah and the US dollar. In Portuguese and Cape Verdean usage, the cifrão is placed as a decimal point between the escudo and centavo values (e.g., 2$50). The name originates in the Arabic cifr.

Currencies of the European Union

There are eleven currencies of the European Union as of 2018 used officially by member states. The euro accounts for the majority of the member states with the remainder operating independent monetary policies. Those European Union states that have adopted it are known as the eurozone and share the European Central Bank (ECB). The ECB and the national central banks of all EU countries, including those who operate an independent currency, are part of the European System of Central Banks.

Economy of Cape Verde

Cape Verde is a small archipelagic nation that lacks resources and has experienced severe droughts. Agriculture is made difficult by lack of rain and is restricted to only four islands for most of the year. Most of the nation's GDP comes from the service industry. Cape Verde's economy has been steadily growing since the late 1990s, and it is now officially considered a country of average development, being only the second African country to have achieved such transition, after Botswana in 1994. Cape Verde has significant cooperation with Portugal at every level of the economy, which has led it to link its currency (the Cape Verdean escudo) first to the Portuguese escudo and, in 1999, to the euro.


The escudo (Portuguese: "shield") is a unit of currency historically used in Portugal and in their colonies in South America, Asia, and Africa. It was originally worth 16 silver reais. The Cape Verdean escudo and the former Portuguese escudo (PTE), each subdivided into 100 centavos, are named after the historical currency. Its symbol is defined as a letter S with two vertical bars superimposed used between the units and the subdivion.

Euro calculator

A euro calculator is a very popular type of calculator in European countries (see eurozone) that adopted the euro as their official monetary unit. It functions like any other normal calculator, but it also includes a special function which allows one to convert a value expressed in the previously official unit (the peseta in Spain, for example) to the new value in euros, or vice versa. Its use became very popular within the population and commerce of these countries especially during the first few months after adopting the euro.

As so many were produced, they are also found outside the eurozone to help staff with conversions at airports or railway stations where the euro has a strong presence.

Europa coin programme

The Europa Coin Programme, also known as the European Silver Programme, or the Eurostar Programme, is an initiative dedicated to the issuance of collector-oriented legal tender coins in precious metals to celebrate European identity. The issuing authorities of EU member countries voluntarily contribute coins to the Europa Coin Programme. Multiple countries have participated in the programme, beginning in 2004. Some coins are denominated in euro, others are denominated in other currencies. Europa coins are legal tender.

European Currency Unit

The European Currency Unit (₠ or ECU) was a basket of the currencies of the European Community member states, used as the unit of account of the European Community before being replaced by the euro on 1 January 1999, at parity. The ECU itself replaced the European Unit of Account, also at parity, on 13 March 1979. The European Exchange Rate Mechanism attempted to minimize fluctuations between member state currencies and the ECU. The ECU was also used in some international financial transactions, where its advantage was that securities denominated in ECUs provided investors with the opportunity for foreign diversification without reliance on the currency of a single country.The ECU was conceived on 13 March 1979 as an internal accounting unit. It had the ISO 4217 currency code XEU.

European Exchange Rate Mechanism

The European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) was a system introduced by the European Economic Community on 13 March 1979, as part of the European Monetary System (EMS), to reduce exchange rate variability and achieve monetary stability in Europe, in preparation for Economic and Monetary Union and the introduction of a single currency, the euro, which took place on 1 January 1999.

After the adoption of the euro, policy changed to linking currencies of EU countries outside the eurozone to the euro (having the common currency as a central point). The goal was to improve the stability of those currencies, as well as to gain an evaluation mechanism for potential eurozone members. This mechanism is known as ERM II and has superseded ERM. Currently there is just one currency in the ERM II, the Danish krone.

Italian scudo

The scudo (pl. scudi) was the name for a number of coins used in various states in the Italian peninsula until the 19th century. The name, like that of the French écu and the Spanish and Portuguese escudo, was derived from the Latin scutum ("shield"). From the 16th century, the name was used in Italy for large silver coins. Sizes varied depending on the issuing country.

First scudo d'argento (silver shield) was issued in 1551 by Charles V (1519–1556) in Milan.Under Maria Theresa and Joseph II the scudo d'argento had a weight of 23.10 g and a fineness of 896/1000.In the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia (under the control of the Habsburg Austrian Empire), the Lombardy-Venetia scudo was equivalent to the Conventionsthaler and was subdivided into six lire.

Before the Napoleonic Wars, the lira was subdivided into 20 soldi, each of 12 denari. Later, the lira was made up of 100 centesimi.

When Austria-Hungary decimalized in 1857, the scudo was replaced by the florin at a rate of 2 florin = 1 scudo. Coins of ½ and 1 soldo were issued, equal to ½ and 1 kreuzer, for use in Lombardy and Venetia.

In the Papal States, the Papal States scudo was the currency until 1866. It was divided into 100 baiocchi (sing. baiocco), each of 5 quattrini. It was replaced by the lira, equal to the Italian lira.

The Duchy of Modena and Reggio also issued scudi, worth four lire or one third of a tallero.

In Malta under the Order of St John, the Maltese scudo circulated from the 16th century until the Order was expelled in 1798. The currency remained the official currency of Malta until 1825 and the last coins were removed from circulation in 1886. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta has issued coins denominated in scudi since 1961.

List of companies of Cape Verde

Cape Verde, officially the Republic of Cabo Verde, is an island country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. Located 570 kilometres (350 mi) off the coast of West Africa, the islands cover a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi).

Most of the nation's GDP comes from the service industry. Cape Verde's economy has been steadily growing since the late 1990s, and it is now officially considered a country of average development, being only the second country to have achieved such transition, after Botswana in 1994. Cape Verde has significant cooperation with Portugal at every level of the economy, which has led it to link its currency (the Cape Verdean escudo) first to the Portuguese escudo and, in 1999, to the euro.

Portuguese Guinean escudo

The escudo was the currency of Portuguese Guinea between 1914 and 1975. It was equal to the Portuguese escudo and replaced the real at a rate of 1000 réis = 1 escudo. The escudo was subdivided into 100 centavos. Portugal issued banknotes (starting in 1914) and coins (starting in 1933) for use in Portuguese Guinea. Following independence, the peso replaced the escudo at par.

Portuguese Indian escudo

The escudo was the currency of Portuguese India between 1958 and 1961. It was divisible into 100 centavos and was equal in value to the Portuguese escudo. After Portuguese India was annexed by the Republic of India in 1961, the escudo was replaced by the Indian rupee.

Portuguese Timorese escudo

The escudo was the currency of Portuguese Timor between 1959 and 1976. It replaced the pataca at a rate of 5.6 escudos = 1 pataca and was equivalent to the Portuguese escudo. It was replaced by the Indonesian rupiah following East Timor's occupation by Indonesia (the exchange rate is unknown). The escudo was subdivided into 100 centavos.

East Timor (formerly Portuguese Timor) now uses the United States dollar banknotes and has its own coins in circulation.

Spanish escudo

The escudo was the name of two distinct Spanish currency denominations.

São Tomé and Príncipe escudo

The escudo was the currency of São Tomé and Príncipe between 1914 and 1977. It was equivalent to the Portuguese escudo and subdivided into 100 centavos.

Currencies named escudo or similar
Euro topics
Fiscal provisions
International status
Coins by issuing country
Potential adoption by
other countries
Currencies yielded

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