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Currencies of the World

History

 

Early currency

 

The origin of currency is the creation of a circulating medium of exchange based on a unit of account which quickly becomes a store of value. Currency evolved from two basic innovations: the use of counters to assure that shipments arrived with the same goods that were shipped, and later with the use of silver ingots to represent stored value in the form of grain. Both of these developments had occurred by 2000 BC. Originally money was a form of receipting grain stored in temple granaries in Egypt and ancient Mesopotamia.

 

This first stage of currency, where metals were used to represent stored value, and symbols to represent commodities, formed the basis of trade in the Fertile Crescent for over 1500 years. However, the collapse of the Near Eastern trading system pointed to a flaw: in an era where there was no place that was safe to store value, the value of a circulating medium could only be as sound as the forces that defended that store. Trade could only reach as far as the credibility of that military. By the late Bronze Age, however, a series of international treaties had established safe passage for merchants around the Eastern Mediterranean, spreading from Minoan Crete and Mycenae in the North West to Elam and Bahrein in the South East. Although it is not known what functioned as a currency to facilitate these exchanges, it is thought that ox-hide shaped ingots of copper, produced in Cyprus may have functioned as a currency.

 

It is thought that the increase in piracy and raiding associated with the Late Bronze Age general systems collapse, possibly produced by the Peoples of the Sea brought this trading system to an end. It was only with the recovery of Phoenician trade in the ninth and tenth centuries, that saw a return to prosperity, and the appearance of real coinage, possibly first in Anatolia with Croesus of Lydia and subsequently with the Greeks and Persians.

 

In Africa many forms of value store have been used including beads, ingots, ivory, various forms of weapons, livestock, humans, the manilla currency, ochre and other earth oxides, and so on. The manilla rings of West Africa were one of the currencies used from the 15th century onwards to buy and sell slaves. African currency is still notable for its variety, and in many places various forms of barter still apply.

 

Source : Currency - Wikipedia

 

Currencies of the World - Wikipedia

 

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Taken on April 18, 2007