The peso is the monetary unit of several countries in the Americas and the Philippines, that originated in Spain. The silver peso worth eight reales was known in English as a Spanish dollar or piece of eight and was a used international trade coin from the 16th to 19th centuries. See also: Spanish dollar, Spanish real The name peso was given to the 8-real silver coin introduced in 1497, minted at 8​3⁄8 pesos to a Castilian mark of silver 134/144 fine, it was minted in large quantities after the discovery of silver in Mexico and Bolivia in the 16th century and became a coin of worldwide importance in international trade between Europe and North America. The peso was produced in Spanish Latin America in a rapid and simplified manner by cutting off a lump of silver of proper weight and fineness from the end of a silver bar, flattened out and impressed by a hammer; this resulted in a crude, irregular coin called a macuquina in Spanish. The Crown was entitled to a fifth of all gold and silver mined, the quinto real, cobs were a convenient means of handling and accounting for silver.

In most cases these cobs were melted down by the recipient. However, some did remain in circulation as currency, these cobs were ideal candidates for clipping and counterfeiting due to their irregular shape and incomplete design. Spanish laws of 1728 and 1730 ordered the mechanization of the minting of the peso so that they would be round and have milled edges. There was a simultaneous reduction in weight and fineness to 8.5 pesos to a mark, 0.9167 fine or 24.809 g fine silver. This new peso became more popular in international trade, with recipients finding it more advantageous to trade it as coined silver of known value rather than melting it into silver bullion of unknown worth; this coin was known to English colonists in North America as a piece of eight later on as a Spanish dollar, Spanish milled dollar, as a Mexican dollar. In French, it was in Portuguese, a pataca or patacão; the Spanish names at various times and in various places were real de a ocho, patacón, duro, or fuerte. A final alteration in 1772 further reduced the fineness of the peso from 11/12 fine to 130/144 = 0.9028.

A sample of coins at the end of the 18th century, confirm a fineness of only 0.896. The weight of the United States dollar was defined in 1788 as 371.25 grains of fine silver based on the average silver content of worn peso coins. The full 0.9028 fineness was only restored by Mexico after its independence in 1821. While the relationship of 8 reales = $1 continued in the Americas until the 19th century, Spain grappled with the issuance of reales de vellon of various weights and finenesses starting 1600 due to its domestic financial and monetary problems. In 1642 it first recognized a new, reduced real provincial worth only $0.10 or 10 reales/$ for use only in Spain. In 1686 Spain minted a coin worth 8 reales provinciales, poorly received by the people. An edict made in the same year which valued the peso duro at $1 = 15​2⁄34 reales de vellon proved to be ineffective as the various reales in circulation contained less silver; the situation was only resolved in 1837 with the peso duro fixed at $1 = 20 reales de vellon and with all prior non-standard reales demonetized.

The loss of Latin American colonies and the ensuing domestic instability in the 19th century cut off the inflow of precious metals into Spain and resulted in French coinage entering domestic circulation. Two subsequent decimal system reforms were attempted in 1850 and 1864 but were not carried out; the peso and the real was only retired with the introduction in 1868 of the Spanish peseta, at par with the French franc, at the rate of $1 = 20 reales = 5 pesetas = 22.5 grams of fine silver. The successful revolt of the Spanish colonies in America had cut off the supply of silver coin by 1820. By 1825 “...the Spanish dollar, the universal coin of three centuries, had lost its supremacy, and...its universal dominion was in process of disintegration into rival ‘currency areas’, chief among, destined to be the area dominated by British sterling.”But the Spanish dollar continued to dominate the Eastern trade, the peso of eight reales continued to be minted in the New World. The coin was sometimes called a Republican dollar, but any peso of the old Spanish eight-real standard was referred to as a Mexican dollar, Mexico being the most prolific producer.

Mexico restored the standard of 1772, producing a coin of 27.073 g, 0.9028 fine, containing 24.441 g fine silver. In 1869–1870, not long after adopting the metric system, Mexican mints began producing the peso of “Un Peso” denomination, popularly known as “balanza”, with the same weight and fineness, but with a uniform diameter of 37 mm. Chinese merchants rejected the new coin, discounting it 4%–5% in favor of the old eight-real peso. Faced with this threat to her silver exports, Mexico returned to the old eight

Sami Jo

Sami Jo is a former American country singer. She is best known for her 1973 single "Tell Me a Lie", which peaked at No. 21 on the Pop Top 40 that same year. Sami Jo was raised in a religious family in Batesville, AR, she began singing on local radio at age 3 and was a local beauty queen during high school. When she was 19 she moved to Dallas, where she acquired the nickname "Sam" from a roommate, which turned into "Sami Jo", her early career was guided by Atlanta music legend Sonny Limbo. He connected Sami Jo with Rick Hall in Muscle Shoals, AL, where she recorded two singles that failed to chart. Sonny got her a deal with MGM South, which led to Sami Jo's first hit, "Tell Me A Lie". In addition to reaching #21 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart, it reached #14 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart, her follow-up single, "It Could Have Been Me" did well, reaching #46 pop and #31 easy listening. Her first album entitled It Could Have Been Me, peaked at #33 on the U. S. Country Albums chart. Despite this early success, Sami Jo did not achieve another major hit on either the pop or the country charts.

In 1975, after MGM South was folded into its parent label, MGM Records, Sami Jo charted one record at #62 on Billboard's Top Country Singles chart. When MGM Records was merged into Polydor Records, Sami Jo continued recording for the new label, achieving two minor country hits in 1976, working with Jimmy Bowen as her producer. After these two singles, Sami Jo was dropped by her label, she was signed to Elektra/Asylum's country division in 1981 by its president, her former producer Jimmy Bowen. Though her recordings were produced by Bowen, neither of her two charting singles cracked the top 70 on the country chart. In 1983, her label was merged into Warner Bros.. Records, she worked with producer Jim Ed Norman on a remake of Brenda Lee's "Emotions", but Warner Brothers recalled the single soon after sending promo singles to radio stations. She recorded some tracks for the Southern Tracks label, but none charted. After her music career ended, Sami Jo managed two stores in Tulsa, OK, she has a son, a grandson, Maximus.

Sami Jo Cole Website: "Tell Me a Lie" was covered by the 1980s recording artist Janie Fricke in 1983, who turned the song into a No. 1 Country hit. In-depth interview with Sami Jo: Sami Jo Cole website: It Could Have Been Me Sami Jo

Encephalartos lebomboensis

Encephalartos lebomboensis is a species of cycad in the family Zamiaceae. Native to the Lebombo Mountains of South Africa, the species was first described in 1949 by the South African botanist Inez Verdoorn, it is known as the Lebombo cycad, although the name is used for Encephalartos senticosus which occurs in the same locality. Encephalartos lebomboensis has a trunk, up to 4 metres tall and 30 centimetres thick. A number of stems form a clump; the crown of pinnate leaves are stiff, each having a mid to dark green glossy upper surface and paler under side. They soon become hairless, they are 100 to 150 cm long and 20 to 27 cm wide, straight or arched, either flat or with a slight keel. The leaflets have serrated edges, they are up to 18 cm long and 2 cm wide, held at right angles to the rachis and overlapping. Near the base of the leaves, the leaflets are reduced to prickles. E. Lebomboensis is a dioecious species, that is, with separate male and female plants. Male specimens have one, or two, short-stalked yellowish-orange cylindrical cones 40 to 45 cm long and 12 to 15 cm wide.

Female specimens have one or two barrel-shaped cones, 40 to 45 cm long and 25 to 30 cm wide, which are yellowish-green in colour. The seed coats are glossy red. Encephalartos lebomboensis has two separate populations, one in the vicinity of Mananga in Mpumalanga province in South Africa and a southern population centred on Piet Retiefion in the upper Pongola River Valley, it is a rare and endangered species and grows in sunny positions on cliffs and steep, rocky slopes among sparse vegetation. This region has hot wet summers and cool, dry winters with frequent mists, it is native to Mozambique and Eswatini. The form of this cycad found in the southern locality differs in certain characteristics from that growing in its northern enclave and it is considered to be a separate species, Encephalartos senticosus. In 1996 E. senticosus was split from E. lebomboensis. The main differences between the two are in the number and form of the male and female cones. There are believed to be about 5,000 specimens of Encephalartos lebomboensis growing in the wild.

It is a popular species with plant collectors and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists it as being "Endangered" because of its over-exploitation and the degradation of its habitat due to the encroachment of agricultural land. It is listed in Appendix I of the CITES Appendices, it is available as a cultivated plant. Media related to Encephalartos lebomboensis at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Encephalartos lebomboensis at Wikispecies