During colonial times, Spain issued an eight-real coin in Mexico known as the "peso," the Spanish word for "weight." It became the most common international currency circulated throughout the Americas and Asia. After Mexico achieved independence in 1821, it retained the terminology for its national currency.
Through the 19th and most of the 20th centuries, the Mexican peso was the most stable currency in Latin America. After Mexico defaulted on its foreign debt in 1982, the peso destabilized. In 1993, the Bank of Mexico introduced the "nuevo peso," or "new peso," with a value equal to 1,000 of the old, obsolete pesos.
Coins are commonly circulated in denominations of 50 centavos (1/2 peso), $1, $2, $5, $10, $20 and $50. Smaller-valued coins still exist but are rarely used, and stores often round the price to the closest 1/2 peso or encourage customers to donate any difference to charity.
Pesos are issued as paper banknotes in denominations of $10, $20, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1,000.
Since the stabilization of the 1990s, the peso has traded between $9 to $13 to the U.S. dollar. The exchange rate at the beginning of 2010 was 12.9 Mexican pesos to the U.S. dollar.
Article Written By Timothy Aldinger
Timothy Aldinger brings 20 years of experience as an instructional design consultant and corporate training strategist in the automotive, environmental, health and insurance industries. His professional writings have been published by Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation, General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan and many other major corporations. Aldinger received his Bachelor of Arts in political theory from Michigan State University.