The Dollar / Spanish Peso 1776

The Spanish empire and its economy dominated the Americas in the late 18th century, and the Spanish peso was the premier currency in the rebellious North American colonies.  The Spanish peso was so widely used that even the British paid their soldiers in the colonies in silver pesos.  The majority of the silver for the pesos was mined in Mexico during the late 18th century, and the coins were also called “Mexicans”. The US Congress instituted the Continental dollar in May of the previous year (1775), and provided that the notes would be payable in “Spanish Miller Dollars or the value thereof in gold and silver.”  As the American Revolutionary War progressed, the Continental dollar hyper-inflated and rapidly lost value. In November of 1776, Congress adopted the Spanish peso as their unit of currency. (Please visit for more information on the contribution of the Spanish and Latinx to the American Revolutionary War.)

Mission of San Juan Capistrano, 1776

The rustle of swallows’ wings and their soft songs have graced the area now known as San Juan Capistrano since all of our times began.  The region was initially settled by the Native Americans. The Spanish arrived in 1775, and founded the Mission of San Juan Capistrano on November 1, 1776.  This mission was the 7th of 21 missions established by the Spanish across California. In 1821, the area was under rule by the Mexican government.  The territory changed hands again in 1848 after the Mexican-American War, and the US took control. The mission was in a period of decline until President Abraham Lincoln returned it to the Catholic community, who restored the mission to its present beautiful state. And each year, regardless of wars or governments or ownership, the swallows faithfully return. (Image from