The official currency in the American Union is the US dollar, which has become the most widely used currency in transactions carried out daily in global markets.
Although this monetary unit has been part of the history of USA for generations, the origin of the word is much older than the very foundation of the country.
Why is the United States currency called a dollar, what is its origin and meaning?
The history of the dollar involves many countries on different continents. The word dollar is much older than the official coin U.S. ‘Dollar’ is an English form of ‘thaler’, the name given to coins first minted in 1519 from locally mined silver at Joachimsthal in Bohemia (today the city of Joachimsthal lies within the borders of the Czech Republic) ‘Thaler’ is a shortened form of the original term for the coin: ‘Joachimsthaler’.
The name of this coin was later shortened to ‘taler’ in German and later became ‘daler’. By the mid-16th century, the English language had added daler to its vocabulary, to name an ever-growing variety of coins from Europe, such as the Spanish dollar and the Portuguese eight-real piece.
Such coins were widely circulated in the British colonies of North America due to a shortage of official British coins. Subsequently, when the United States gained its independence, the new nation chose the dollar, subdivided into 100 cents, as the unit of currency instead of keeping the pound.
The dollar was formally adopted in 1792 in the new Congressional Currency Act, which established the United States dollar as the country’s standard monetary unit. Thanks to this law, the Mint in charge of producing and circulating the currency was also created.
What is the origin of the dollar sign?
One of the most popular theories is that the dollar sign is derived from the initials of the United States (US). By overlaying a capital ‘U’ on top of a capital ‘S’ and removing the bottom of the ‘U’, you will get a version of the dollar symbol with two strokes.
This theory was supported by the philosopher Ayn Rand in her novel ‘Atlas Shrugged’. In Chapter 10 entitled ‘The Dollar Sign’, the author states that The dollar sign is the symbol not only of the currency, but also of the nation.