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The Portuguese monetary unit at the begginning of the 18th century was the real (plural réis) defined as 2.054 mg of gold and 31.750 mg of silver.

Gold coins were the conto (plural contos of 1,000,000 réis), the moeda (i.e. coin of 4800 réis) the meia moeda (i.e. half coin of 2,400 réis), the quartinho (small quarter of 1,200 réis).

Silver coins were the cruzado novo (new crossed of 480 réis), cruzado (plural cruzados of 400 réis), the doze vinténs (twelve twenties of 240 réis), the seis vinténs (six twenties) of 120 réis, the tostão (head coin of 100 réis), the meio tostão (half head coin of 50 réis), the vintém (twenty of 20 réis). The basic unit was finally the real.

All these coins had a finess of 916 2/3 per thousand (or 22 carrats) and weight proportional to the definition of the monetary unit (legal wieght was defined in local weight units).


  • Valério, Nuno (coordinator), Portuguese historical statistics, ed. Instituto nacional de estatística (Lisboa: Instituto Nacional de Estatística, 2001), chap. 8.