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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Real \Re"al\ (r[=e]"al), n. [Sp., fr. real royal, L. regalis. See Regal, and cf. Ree a coin.] A former small Spanish silver coin; also, a denomination of money of account, formerly the unit of the Spanish monetary system. [1913 Webster] Note: A real of plate (coin) varied in value according to the time of its coinage, from 121/2 down to 10 cents, or from 61/2 to 5 pence sterling. The real vellon, or money of account, was nearly equal to five cents, or 21/2 pence sterling. In 1871 the coinage of Spain was assimilated to that of the Latin Union, of which the franc is the unit. The peseta was introduced in 1868, and continued as the official currency of Spain (splitting temporarily into Nationalist and Republican pesetas during the civil war of the 1930's) until 2002. In 2002, the euro became the official currency of Spain and most other nations of the European Union. [1913 Webster + PJC]