In commemoration of the bicentenary of Peru's independence from Spain, the Peruvian Central Reserve Bank (BCRP) issued the numismatic series "Constructores de la República – Bicentenario 1821 - 2021" (Builders of the Republic – Bicentenary 1821 – 2021). With this coin series the lovely numismatic culture is continued and those who fought for Peru’s independence, freedom and dignity building the new Peruvian Republic are honored and remembered with one of the most commonly used coins in the country, the S/ 1 coin.
On the front of each of the 9 different Builders of the Republic coins one personality which played an important role in the long and difficult Peruvian independence struggle is depicted; the back shows the Peruvian Coat of Arms surrounded by the writing Banco Central de Reserva del Perú (Central Reserve Bank of Peru) and the year of issue.
All coins in the series have the denomination of One Sol (S/ 1). They are a legal tender. The coins circulate simultaneously with all other S/ 1 coins and can be used in any transaction in Peru.
Value: One Sol (S/ 1)
Date of issue: 2020 -
Diameter: 25.5 mm
Material: Alpaca (copper alloy with nickel and zinc)
Mintage: 10 million coins of each motive
Front image: personality crucial to Peru's struggle for independence and the logo of the National Mint on a background of vertical lines
Back image: Peruvian Coat of Arms
Legal tender: Yes
1st Builders of the Republic coin - Juan Pablo Viscardo y Guzmán
The first coin of the Builders of the Republic numismatic series was issued on October 9, 2020. It honors Juan Pablo Vizcardo y Guzmán, a Peruvian Jesuit and writer who was a fierce opponent of Spanish colonialism in Latin America, and campaigned for Peru’s independence from Spain.
Born in Pampacolca, Arequipa to Spanish colonial parents in 1748, he lived as a Jesuit among the indigenous people near Cusco and was deeply moved by the Rebellion of Tupac Amaru (1780–1782). Analyzing the past and present, his concerns related to the future of the indigenous people. He became a fierce opponent of Spanish colonialism and secretly traveled to London in 1782, where he stayed for two years. Back in Peru, Viscardo was expelled from his home country a few years later. Sponsored by the British Government to recount the development of Latin America's independence, he once again ended in London in 1791 taking his message of freedom to Europe. Here he wrote several important essays, all promoting freedom for the Spanish colonies in Latin America and criticizing Spanish colonialism and its economic control. Surely his most important work was the 1792 “Letter to the Spanish Americans” (Carta a los españoles americanos) in which he sends a message of freedom and the promise of a better future after independence to his “brothers and compatriots” in Peru.
Juan Pablo Viscardo y Guzmán died in exile in London in 1798. His famous letter was published only a year later in French and in 1801 in Spanish.
2nd Builders of the Republic coin - Hipólito Unanue y Pavón
The second coin of the Builders of the Republic numismatic series was put into circulation on May 18, 2021, honoring Hipólito Unanue y Pavón, a humanist, intellectual, naturalist, medical doctor, cosmographer, and meteorologist who later went into politics becoming Peru’s first Minister of Finance and later Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Born in Arica on August 13, 1755, Hipólito Unanue first studied philosophy, humanities, and law in Arequipa, before moving to Lima where he continued his studies in natural sciences at the San Marcos University. Over the next years he became a respected member not only of the medical community but also of the intellectual scene while enjoying a high reputation with the viceregal administration. In 1790, he co-founded the Academic Society of Lovers of the Country which published the Mercurio Peruano, a highly popular newspaper focusing on medicine, natural science, history and economics not only piquing interest for scientific knowledge and work but also for the first time establishing a concept of Peru as an independent and modern nation. Among many other publications he wrote government reports, “The political, ecclesiastical, and military guide of Peru” and his “Observations on the climate of Lima and its influences in organized beings”. In 1815, he created the San Fernando College of Medicine and a year later received the title Honorary Physician of the Royal House of Her Majesty. However, during the early stage of the independence struggle and after publishing “The evils of civil war and duty of the writers” he fell from grace.
In 1821, after the proclamation of independence, San Martin appointed Unanue Minister of Finance. Under Simon Bolivar, he became Peru’s Minister of Government and Foreign Relations and presided over the council of government. He issued the first commercial regulations, established a customs infrastructure and boosted the agriculture, mining and manufacturing industry. He rebuilt schools destroyed during the war and founded other educational institutions in Lima and in the provinces. Unanue organized the General Directorate of Studies and created societies with cultural purposes such as the Philharmonic Society and the Museum of Natural Sciences. And he created the first public welfare board, founded hospitals and promoted vaccinations to eradicate smallpox. In June 1826 he became the Minister of Justice and Ecclesiastical Business. At 78, Hipólito Unanue died on July 15, 1833.
3rd Builders of the Republic coin - ???
Until now, the Peruvian Central Reserve Bank hasn't announced when the next coin will be issued and who will be featured. We will update this article as soon as a new coin is issued.