Spanish Reales

Image of Spanish Reales, obverse.
Image of Spanish Reales, reverse.
Flooding: an agent of change

This 1807 Spanish Reales (both obverse and reverse sides are shown) was worn as jewelry and found around the neck of a person buried in a Catholic cemetery near Kaskaskia. At the time he was buried, Kaskaskia was on the east side of the Mississippi River, but the river’s course was altered during major flooding in 1881, which destroyed most of the town and exposed the graves.

Flooding is a frequent agent of change. The Mississippi River’s course was changed by the flooding, and the town and the old cemetery are now located on the west side of the river. The Mississippi now occupies the last 10 miles of the former Kaskaskia River channel.

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