Mexican Currency: A Photographic Tour

July 17, 2017

We’d like to share a quick foto-tour of Mexico, where photographer Arturo Ortiz matches the images on our currency to the actual locations … paired with Yucalandia’s thumbnail descriptions of the places & people.

¡ Mil Gracias !
 to Arturo for his fun fun fotos

As you tour Mexico (below) through her leaders & important sites,  consider remembering some of the details … if you ever want to become a naturalized Mexican citizen, as SRE officials often ask us to describe those same key details of our bills during the oral exam.

$10 Pesos …  La Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, Guanajuato

La Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, Guanajuato is the scene of the Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla‘s  ~chispa~ spark of the 1810 Revolution … Known for the September 16, 1810 Call to Independence …  El Grito    or  Grito de Dolores

The front of the $10 peso note depicts Emiliano Zapata Salazar , a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution.  Zapata is further remembered as the main leader of the peasant revolution in the state of Morelos, and the inspiration of the agrarian movement called Zapatismo.


$20 Pesos … Monte Albán, about 10 km outside Oaxaca de Juárez

Monte Albán  is known as one of Mesoamerica’s most important archeological sites as the Zapotecan & Mixtec capital from  800 B.C. ~ featuring over 170 tombs, great plazas, ball courts & temples.

The much beloved President Benito Juarez is on the front.
“Among individuals, as among nations, Respect of other people’s rights … is peace. ”

Entre los individuos, como entre las naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz .


The Aqueduct of Morelia is one of the best conserved major early constructions of the Virrey ~ Vice Royalty ~ Spanish Colonial period of Mexico.

The back side also includes nice Monarch butterflies to honor the 10’s of millions of beautiful Monarch butterflies that over-winter there … as a part of their incredible migrations from Mexico to  the USA-Canada regions ~ a journey that spans 4-5 generations and 1,000’s of miles for each butterfly.

The front of the$50 peso note features the face of José María Morelos , wearing a large headband and a pirate-esque left side earring … even though he was a priest and influential force in the 1810 Mexican War of Independence


$100 Pesos …  Tenochtitlan … The Aztec Capital City in Lake Texcoco …
~ aka Mexico City ~

At it’s peak, Tenochtitlan was the largest city in all of the pre-Columbian Americas.
Tenochtitlan was one of ~two (2) ~  city states ( Nahua āltēpetl ) on the island …  the other city on the island being   Tlatelolco.

Note: The image above is an artist’s rendition of all the buildings in their original states before the Conquistadores & Church tore them down to as materials to build government offices & churches.

Here’s an image of today’s remaining Aztec runs in the center of Mexico City:

The front of the $200 peso note:  The pre -Columbian Aztec king,  Nezahualcoyotl (April 28, 1402 – June 4, 1472) was a philosopher, warrior, architect, poet and ruler of the city-state of Tenochtitlan, Texcoco  (aka Mexico City).

Back to Mexican Currency …

This foto is by Niveck Britto

$200 Pesos … Hacienda Panoaya Impresa  …

At the feet of Mexico’s two big volcanos Popocatépetl and  Iztaccíhuatl lies the home of Mexico’s wonderful poet Sor (Sister) Juana Inés de la Cruz.  The hacienda’s dates to the 17’th Century, as Juana Inés de la Cruz began writing poetry and prose there.

Juana Inés de la Cruz’s beautiful writing were simultaneously delightful, clever, juicy & controversial, frequently dealing love, feminism & religion … and their intersections.  Her criticisms of Colonial Spain’s misogyny and the male hypocrisy (machistas) led to her condemnation by the Church of Rome.

The Hacienda Panoaya is considered one of the most beautiful in Mexico.

Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz is featured on the front.



$500 Pesos …  Cathedral of Puebla’s Bell Tower & Cupolas …

Formally know as  “Heróica Puebla de Zaragoz”
(For the purpose of theme of Mexican historical sites on our currency, we’re showing the old series $500 peso note.**)

Puebla?  Think Cinco de Mayo, when seriously outgunned & outmanned simple Mexican campesinos defeated a vaunted French Army.  The campesinos were armed only with really crummy  100 year old war-surplus  British muskets from the 1760’s – 1770’s (American Revolution) … while the French had first rate 1860’s armaments.

This old series $500 peso note has the face of General Ignacio Zaragoza,  hero of the Battle of Puebla.

**The new current currency $500 peso note has a Beauty & the Beast theme, featuring artists & national treasures Diego Rivera (El Sapo – the Toad)  and uni-browed Frida Kahlo .  Some of us find it ironic that Mexico’s modestly large denomination and most counterfeited bill (capitalism at it’s height) features 2 of Mexico’s most noted Communists.


& The Beast:

Back to the Historical Sites …


$1000 Pesos … La Universidad de Guanajuato …  Think El Grito !

The $1000 peso note is our largest denomination in common circulation. honoring  la Universidad de Guanajuato,  dating from the 18’th century as the hospice of the Holy Trinity 1732  … (yes,  another Trinity College) …

The front  of the $1000 peso note features Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla,   the  chispa~spark of the 1810 Revolution … Known for a call to Independence …  El Grito    or  Grito de Dolores

Formally, he’s known as:  Don Miguel Gregorio Antonio Ignacio Hidalgo-Costilla y Gallaga Mandarte Villaseñor

as close to the   “Father of the Nation”  as we can come.

And thus ends our little lesson on the currency, history & some key geographic sites of Mexico.

¡ Viva Mexico !

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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry

Read on, MacDuff …