COLOMBIA LAZARETO 50 centavos 1928


COLOMBIA, LAZARETO, 50 centavos, 1928, brass, KM-L14, aF

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From ancient times people who contracted what is now called Hansen’s disease were called lepers and were shunned and banished from human communities. They became objects of pity and charity and systems were developed to allow them to live. In the 19th century the idea of collecting them in isolated hospital communities developed. These were called “leper colonies,” and were organized to minimize contact with non-infected people. The cure now is antibiotics.

Human habitation of the region is confirmed back to 14,000 BC. The Spanish colonized it and established a viceroyalty of Nueva Granada in the 16th century. In 1819 it became independent. Panama, backed by the USA, seceded in 1903.

In 1494, when Portugal and Spain were getting ready to seize land in the Western Hemisphere they asked the Pope to sort out the disagreements between them rather than fighting over everything. The Pope pointed to a longitude on a map and gave Portugal everything on one side and Spain everything on the other. Worked out well for Spain. Portugal got Brazil. Spain got everything else.

By “Modern World Coins” we mean here, generally, the round, flat, shiny metal objects that people have used for money and still do. “Modern,” though, varies by location. There was some other way they were doing their economies, and then they switched over to “modern coins,” then they went toward paper money, now we’re all going toward digital, a future in which kids look at a coin and say “What’s that?” We’ll say: “We used to use those to buy things.” Kids will ask “How?” The main catalog reference is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, to which the KM numbers refer.