Central America Republic

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The July 1, 1823, after falling Iturbide's empire, Central America declared its independence from Mexico, Spain and any other country and created the United Provinces of Central America or the Federal Republic of Central America, comprising Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Chiapas province that belonged to the former Captaincy General of Guatemala joined the Mexican Republic.

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According to The Constitutional Charter promulgated on November 22, 1824, each province had its own local government directed by a prime minister. All local governments obeyed to the federal government, based in Guatemala and led by its president, Manuel José Arce.

Juan Barrundia was the first mayor of Guatemala.  Due to differences with the federal president, he was deposed and imprisoned. The state's seat was moved to Quetzaltenango, where he was murdered the Guatemalan deputy, Cirilo Flores. Given this, the states of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua protested and declared war on the Federal Government. On April 13, 1829, Guatemala City was occupied and looted by the Honduran army commanded by General Francisco Morazán, who reinstated in their positions the authorities deposed by Manuel José Arce. In 1833, Francisco Morazán, President of the federation, moved the seat of the Federal Government to San Salvador upon suggestion of Dr. Mariano Galvez, head of the State of Guatemala. Galvez, with his liberal tendencies, was reelected in 1835, but had to flee to Mexico in February 1838, before de advance of Guatemala conservative forces led by Rafael Carrera. From El Salvador, the Federal President could do nothing to prevent Rafael Carrera and the Conservative Party from taking control of Guatemala. In May 1838, Congress authorized the members of the federation to organize themselves as they saw fit. Following this, Nicaragua segregates from the federation in April 1838; Honduras and Costa Rica in November 1838; El Salvador in February 1841 and finally in 1847, is founded the Republic of Guatemala.

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Economically, when independence came, Central America was bankrupt. Higher taxes are not collected. Mining was down considerably. The passage of the Mexican troops had left all state institutions without funds. The country was dragging a colonial debt with Mexico that could not pay. Although opened to foreign trade, Central America had little to export. Trade between provinces was almost non-existent and difficult to implement due to the lack of roads that linked them. The various struggles between the provinces worsened the economic situation.  People treasured the few gold and silver coins still exist, preventing future instability and being the only means of saving insurance available to them.  With time and the shortage of coins, many colonial cobs began to appear, they had been kept by Indians during all those years, which were subsequently countermarked by the authorities along with foreign currency also came into circulation.   Also many fake cobs, made in Honduras, began circulating, which the government banned and collected.

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With the economic situation against them and being freed from the heavy hand of colonial ruling, which apparently was the only thing that united the five provinces of the Captaincy General, a strong localism emerged in each province that was not counterbalanced by any economic interest, political or social common ground. In an attempt to bring the provinces together, the Unionist contracted in 1828, the "English" debt, presumably to invest in infrastructure and generate wealth, but it was used to pay back wages and debts of the state. The expenses of the Union as well as debts while it last, were absorbed by Guatemala.

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The Guatemalan Mint had been virtually paralyzed since 1821. In 1824, began the minting of the federation coins in very small quantities and many were exported or leaving the country to pay for imported goods. For coinages they were used weights, modules, cord and titles of the colonial period differing only in design and added 10Ds20Gs (0.90277 silver) for the silver coins and 21 karat for gold coins. Guatemala continued using the "NG" as a mintmark, except in the smaller coins (cuartillos) that used only the "G".   Sporadic and only in some denominations in the provinces of Honduras, "T" of Tegucigalpa, and Costa Rica, "CR ", coinages were also performed. Guatemala minted coins of 1/4, 1/2, 1 and 8 reales in silver; and 1/2, 1, 2, 4 and 8 escudos in gold, but only the coinage of quarts, 8 reales and 2 escudos, were performed almost regularly.

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There are two know essay of eight reales 1824.   One with the largest foliage of the Ceiba (common Central American tree) in two varieties, with reeded edge or cord.  And the other, with the sun in the middle of the five volcanoes, as used in the design of 8 escudos. In 1829, during the occupation of Francisco Morazán, the provisional coin of one real of the State of Guatemala (picture above) was coined. From 1838-1841, Guatemala countermarked for the second time foreign currency and local cobs.

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 Monedas de Guatemala
Victor Sandoval

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