What is money? By definition, it’s anything of value that you can use to trade for products or services. But over the last 10,000 years, the material form that money has taken has changed considerably from Livestock, like cattle chickens and horses, as well as shiny stones and cowrie shells to today’s electronic currency. Here, is an overview of the history of money. IN THE BEGINNING: BARTER Barter is the exchange of resources or services for mutual advantage, and the practice likely dates back tens of thousands of years, perhaps even to the dawn of modern humans. Some would even argue that it's not purely a human activity; plants and animals have been bartering—in symbiotic relationships—for millions of years. In any case, barter among humans certainly pre-dates the use of money. Today some individuals, organizations, and governments still use, and often prefer, barter as a form of exchange of goods and services. 9000 - 6000 B.C.: CATTLE Cattle, which throughout history and across the globe have included not only cows but also sheep, camels, and other livestock, are the first and oldest form of money. With the advent of agriculture also came the use of grain and other vegetable or plant products as a standard form of barter in many cultures. 1200 B.C.: COWRIE SHELLS The first use of cowries, the shells of a mollusk that was widely available in the shallow waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, was in China. Historically, many societies have used cowries as money, and even as recently as the middle of this century, cowries have been used in some parts of Africa. The cowrie is the most widely and longest used currency in history. 1000 B.C.: FIRST METAL MONEY AND COINS Bronze and Copper cowrie imitations were manufactured by China at the end of the Stone Age and could be considered some of the earliest forms of metal coins. Metal tool money, such as knife and spade monies, was also first used in China. These early metal monies developed into primitive versions of round coins. Chinese coins were made out of base metals, often containing holes so they could be put together like a chain. 500 B.C.: MODERN COINAGE Outside of China, the first coins developed out of lumps of silver. They soon took the familiar round form of today, and were stamped with various gods and emperors to mark their authenticity. These early coins first appeared in Lydia, which is part of present-day Turkey, but the techniques were quickly copied and further refined by the Greek, Persian, Macedonian, and later the Roman empires. Unlike Chinese coins which depended on base metals, these new coins were made from precious metals such as silver, bronze, and gold, which had more inherent value. 118 B.C.: LEATHER MONEY Leather money was used in China in the form of one-foot-square pieces of white deerskin with colorful borders. This could be considered the first documented type of banknote. 806: PAPER CURRENCY The first known paper banknotes appeared in China. In all, China experienced over 500 years of early paper money, spanning from the ninth through the fifteenth century. Over this period, paper notes grew in production to the point that their value rapidly depreciated and inflation soared. Then beginning in 1455, the use of paper money in China disappeared for several hundred years. This was still many years before paper currency would reappear in Europe, and three centuries before it was considered common. 1535: WAMPUM The earliest known use of wampum, which are strings of beads made from clam shells, was by North American Indians in 1535. Most likely, this monetary medium existed well before this date. The Indian word "wampum" means white, which was the color of the beads. 1816: THE GOLD STANDARD Gold was officially made the standard of value in England in 1816. At this time, guidelines were made to allow for a non-inflationary production of standard banknotes which represented a certain amount of gold. Banknotes had been used in England and Europe for several hundred years before this time, but their worth had never been tied directly to gold. In the United States, the Gold Standard Act was officially enacted in 1900, which helped lead to the establishment of a central bank. 1930: The Silver STANDARD The massive Depression of the 1930's, felt worldwide, marked the beginning of the end of the gold standard. In the United States, the gold standard was revised and the price of gold was devalued. This was the first step in ending the relationship altogether. Silver, more abundant and cheaper replaced gold as the standard. The British and international gold standards soon ended as well, and the complexities of international monetary regulation began. 1968: Silver standard replaced by demand notes, money redeemed for different money? THE PRESENT: Today, currency continues to change and develop, as evidenced by the new $100 U.S. Ben Franklin bill. But more and more people are relying on digital money in the form of debits (money in the bank) or credit (borrowed money) Economic transactions regularly take place electronically, without the exchange of any physical currency. Digital cash in the form of bits and bytes will most likely continue to be the currency of the future.
random links driving spiders crazy since 1995
scrabble whoopi goldberg wolfgang puck barrymore mel gibson fireworks tibet SSHH festivals tagged drunk driver pay it forward rent too high why Tom Hanks Jen durkin mission impossible nude Jill stein next president prying eyes of big mother square as a box turtle who what Brooke Shields Marijuana Wizards waterfalls gemini Seigniorage Goldie Hawn Carrie Westcott Meg Ronald Gascon for president medicaid ruby marijuana hidden scars grateful dead famous potheads love aniston wizard oz bill of rights who what why where when hot