Can you guess a country by its playing cards?
The most interesting card patterns are in China, Japan, India, Germany, Spain and England. The cards there are so different, they are easily recognized.

Spain Cards

gamblingSpain is known to be one of the earliest countries in Europe where the playing cards were first introduced. The earliest Spanish decks were known as baraja Espanola and used Latin symbols for the deck. Like the decks in Italy, the Spanish decks also had four suits since it was a Latin suited deck. These matched closely to the tarot card decks in Italy and consisted of coins of gold known as oros, cups or breakers known as copas, swords which were referred to as espadas and clubs or batons which were known as bastos. Some of the earlier decks also included jokers which were known as comodines.

Several early sources refer to various different card games, card makers and to various rules and regulations of these games in Barcelona and Valencia in early 14th and 15th centuries. According to various early documents these were large cards that were hand painted and gilded as well as some smaller cards and Moorish decks.

Early Spanish decks

The early Spanish decks had all numbered cards but the ones numbered ten were the first court cards unlike the French decks. Every suit had just twelve cards. The court cards in these suits was the knave which was numbered ten and was known as la sota, the horse was numbered eleven and was known as el caballo and the King was numbered twelve and was known as el rey. Most of the early Spanish card games involve the use of forty card decks without the nines and eights.

The boxes that go around the figures have markings on them, which allow players to identify the suites without showing the cards. In many Latin countries, the Baraja have been an important part of the occult and they are still widely used in various gambling and card games in Spain where the traditional French decks are not used. The Baraja have been mentioned in many Latin American as well as Spanish literature over the centuries.

Spanish decks and cards were used not just in Spain but in several other countries like Argentina, Mexico, Phillipines, and Puerto Rico where Spain had a considerable influence. Several card games that use these traditional Spanish cards have become highly popular in the last few years and include games like la brisca, la pocha, el mus, el tute, la escoba del quince, el guinote, el cinquillo and several other games. Las Cuarenta, which is the national card game of Equador and is a fishing game, also uses the traditional Spanish deck.

Spanish Tarot cards

Some of the earliest tarot cards, which were illustrated and hand painted in the 15th century had been discovered in Spain in Seville. Several museums in Latin America have century evidences that show Spanish playing cards from 15th and 16th. In the Lower Rimac Valley in Peru, Spanish suited cards had been found during various excavation processes. Games like blackjack and poker that are played with 52 cards are known as Baraja de poker in Spain.

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