Web site visitor Jill Williams of Appleton, WI writes:
My oldest child (8 years old) would like to know why the Dollar is called a "Dollar." This is one I couldn't answer. Can you help us out?
I answered: "Great question. There's a long and short answer. The short one is that the word "dollar" was based on older silver coins about the same size, called daalder, daler, or taler in various languages. Here's a longer explanation from Wikipedia:
On the 15th of January, 1520, Count Hieronymus Schlick (Czech: Jeroným Šlik z Passounu) of Bohemia began minting coins known as Joachimsthaler, named for Joachimstal (modern Jáchymov in the Czech Republic), where the silver was mined. (In German, thal or tal refers to a valley or dale.) "Joachimsthaler" was later shortened in common usage to taler or thaler (same pronunciation) and this shortened word eventually found its way into other languages: Czech tolar, Danish and Norwegian as (rigs)daler, Swedish as (riks)daler, Dutch as (rijks)daalder, Ethiopian as ታላሪ talari, Italian as tallero, Flemish as daelder, Persian as Dare, and into English as dollar.
I also recommended:
Pictured is a "Wildman" thaler. Can anyone point to a nicely illustrated page showing the progression from early thalers to the U.S. dollar?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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