History of the dollar: from Hispanic empire to the USA

Why is the dollar called a dollar? Where did the most used currency in the world come from? The history of United States currency has a direct connection with the Hispanic empire of the 16th century.


Charles V was the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, king of the Catalan-Aragonese Crown (because he was the grandson of Ferdinand the Catholic) and king of the Indies, which had been discovered by Christopher Columbus. And in a corner of this vast empire was born the currency that would eventually evolve to become the American dollar. How did this happen?

In Bohemia, today’s Czech Republic, there were silver mines that began to be used to make coins. Because of the name of the area, those coins were called Joachimstaler but, little by little, the name was reduced to Taler. These Talers spread across the Atlantic and, based on trading with the Dutch and British, they began to be referred to as Daler. From there it went to Spanish Daaler and then to Spanish Dollar. It was only necessary for the United States to be established in 1789, which made the Dollar the country’s currency.


And the dollar sign? 

Well, everything indicates that it has to do with the symbology that appeared in the Hispanic Reales. There you could see the two columns of Hercules and the motto plus ultra, meaning that the Spanish had gone beyond the columns of Hercules. Because? Because in the past it was assumed that the columns of Hercules were on the cliffs of the Strait of Gibraltar, closing the access from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. Therefore, to go beyond those columns was to go towards the unknown, which is why the Spanish motto represented the daring of having crossed the ocean to reach the Americas. The symbol of the dollar, therefore, would be the wrapped columns of Hercules.

To learn more about the history of the dollar, you can watch the following video by Arte TV.

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  1. Joan SegarraJoan Segarra says:

    M’ha agradat molt

  2. Manuel Bullich BuenoManuel Bullich Bueno says:

    Molt interessant, sempre s’aprenen coses.

    • Jordi CollJordi Coll says:

      Moltes gràcies, Manel, i cert, aquí, a 11Onze, sempre s’aprenen un munt de coses…

      5 months ago
  3. alicia Coiduras Charlesalicia Coiduras Charles says:

    M’he endut u a sorpresa amb l’origen del dolar ,com sempre una bona historia

  4. Joan Santacruz CarlúsJoan Santacruz Carlús says:

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