Origin of name and creation
The word dollar is derived from the German coin denomination Taler , which corresponds to Daler in Low German . Taler or Thaler was the abbreviation for Joachimsthaler , a silver coin worth one guilder . This taler came from the mines of a town called Sankt Joachimsthal, today's Jáchymov in the Czech Republic. The name Dolaro or Dolares appeared for the first time under Emperor Charles V to distinguish the circulating deteriorated 8 reales pieces ( peso ) from the pieces with a full silver content. The name Dolaro was based on the Dutch daalder (thaler) when the Netherlands was under Spanish occupation .
King Philip II of Spain had the first official Dolaros minted in Potosí (today Bolivia ) from 1575 . They were of equal weight with the Dutch Phillipusdaalders and were often captured by English privateers ( privateers ). As a result, they came to the British North American colonies and thus became a sought-after (substitute) means of payment due to a lack of sufficient English means of payment (silver crowns ). Queen Elizabeth I of England officially minted the first dollars from 1600 onwards and then distributed them to her colonies via the British East India Company .
As part of the detachment from the British motherland, the American colonies did not want the British pound as their currency. Since the British banned the minting of their own coins in 1704, other currencies were used, in particular the so-called "Spanish dollars" from Mexico. In the War of Independence, which began in 1775, a separate currency concept was developed and the first dollar coins were minted in 1787. The American Coinage Act of 1792 declared the "Spanish dollar or peso" with a silver weight of 371.25 grains or the equivalent of 24.056 g as the main currency unit. It was:
- 1 dollar = 10 dimes = 100 cents
At the same time, a 10-dollar gold coin with a fine of 24.7 grains was planned, which corresponded to a gold / silver value ratio of 1: 150. Every citizen could now also gold and silver coins for these legal Münzfüßen - at a corresponding precious metal delivery - ausmünzen private and so can be "produced" with state Effigy his money.
The currency symbol for the dollar is the " dollar sign " $ , it first appeared in manuscripts in business transactions between Mexico and the British colonies of North America to mark the Spanish currency by the 1770s at the latest. The origin cannot be clearly proven, but it is likely that it developed over the course of time from the handwritten abbreviation Ps for peso (s) or piastres (originally measures of weight).
The dollar sign is shown as a capital S with two vertical bars in the past, now often with just one vertical bar. Often the sign is also seen as a symbol for the " Pillars of Heracles " (the two vertical lines), which symbolize the (Spanish) claim to overseas rule. In this case, the curved S-line would be a stylized “banner”. The banner was originally on the 8 reales pieces of the 16./17. Century as part of the Spanish coat of arms and is still part of the coat of arms of Spain today .
Contrary to popular belief, the "dollar sign" was not created by superimposing the letters "U" and "S" to "$".
- Anton Zischka : The dollar - splendor and misery of a currency. 3rd edition completely revised and supplemented by the author. Wirtschaftsverlag Langen-Müller / Herbig , Munich 1995 (first edition 1986), ISBN 3-7844-7345-8 .
- Heinz Fengler, Gerhard Gierow, Willy Unger: Transpress Lexicon Numismatics. 4th, edited edition, Transpress Verlag für Verkehrwesen , Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-344-00220-1 .
- René Frank : Unusual colonial money in Sierra Leone - The first dollar coins in history. In: Money Trend , 05/2012, pp. 174-182, ( excerpt , PDF, free of charge, 5 pages, 1.5 MB).
- Meyer's Large Conversational Lexicon . 6th edition. Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1909 ( zeno.org [accessed on December 11, 2019] lexicon entry "Dollar").
- Jürg Conzett: The history of money. In: https://www.moneymuseum.com/ . P. 39 , accessed on April 13, 2020 .
- Arthur Nussbaum : A history of the dollar. Columbia University Press, New York, NY 1957, OCLC 245758 .