The actual word, “Dollar,” evolves from the German Thaler; the name given to the first large-sized European [store]silver coin[/store]. Designed as a substitute for the [store]gold Florin[/store], which was a gold denomination that originated in Florence, Italy in the year 1252.
It was in 1484 that Archduke Sigismund of Tyrol issued the first truly revolutionary silver coin; the half Guldengroschen, of roughly 15½ grams. This was a very rare coin; almost a trial piece. It did circulate so successfully however, that demand could not be met. These large silver coins were so popular during the 16th century that many other countries struck similar pieces giving them names also derived from “thaler.” In the Netherlands, the coin was called, “Rijksdaalder” in Denmark, “Rigsdaler” in Italy, “Tallero” in Poland, “Talar” in France, “Jocandale” and in Russia, “Jefimok.” All of these names are abbreviations of “Joachimsthaler.”
Until the discovery of the great silver deposits in Mexican and South American mines, the mint with the greatest output of large silver coins was that of Joachimsthal, in the Bohemian Erzgebirge.
The Spanish dollar, “peso,” which literally means ‘weight,’ is a silver coin that was minted in the Spanish Empire after a Spanish currency reform in 1497. Through widespread use in the Americas and the Far East, it was nearly a [store]world currency[/store] by the late 18th century. The [store]U.S. dollar[/store], evolved from the Spanish eight-reales coin, which was composed of just less than one ounce of silver. This coin was popular among American colonists who called it the Spanish dollar; the name which derived from a German coin of similar size and composition known as, the “thaler.”
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