Portuguese coins

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Recently, a farmer in North Goa’s Nanoda Bamber village found 832 copper coins in a pot buried in the soil which were believed to be minted in Goa around the 16th or 17th Century when it was under Portuguese rule.

About Portuguese coins

  • The Portuguese people issued coins in gold, copper and silver from Goa.
  • The gold coins were termed as 'Cruzado' or 'Manoel' and were issued in the same size, value and weight as the 'Pagodas' or 'Hons'.
  • Another type of gold coin named 'Meio-manoel', and 'Meia-espera' and 'Espera' in silver were also issued.
  • The gold 'Manoel' and the silver 'Espera' had the Cross of the Order of Christ on the obverse and the armillary sphere, the device of the King D. Manoel on the reverse side of the coin were found.
  • The half pieces of these coins bore the word 'MEA' surmounted by a crown on one side of the coin and the armillary sphere on the flip side of the coin.
  • The Governor of Goa suspended the issue of these coins in 1519.
  • After this in 1549, gold and silver coins were reintroduced.
  • During this period, the Portuguese had adopted the Apostle St. Thomas as their patron saint for India.
  • Since then it had been decided to etch the effigy of St. Thomas on their Indian coins and to give the coins the name of St. Thome.
  • The gold and the silver coins had a seated or standing figure of St. Thomas with the letters S and T on one side of the coin and the crowned arm of Portugal with the initials of the reigning monarch on the other side of the coin.
  • Sometimes small inscriptions were also found in the coins.
  • The gold coins of Portuguese were of the value of 20, 10, 5 and 2 'Xerafirms'.
  • Two mints were opened at Bassein and Daman in 1611 for issuing copper 'Buzaruccos'.
  • Later on 'tutenag' coins were issued from these mints.
  • The copper 'Buzaruccos' had the coat-of-arms on one side of the coin and a sheaf of arrows on the flip side of the coin.

Q1) What are Inscriptions?

These are writing or engravings on a surface, often on stone, metal, wood, or other durable materials. These writings can convey various forms of information, including historical records, religious texts, artistic expressions, or commemorative messages. They've been crucial in preserving historical, cultural, and linguistic information across civilizations.

Source: Cashew farmer chances on rare find: 832 copper coins from Portuguese era in Goa