Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Un-American Origin of the Dollar

I was reading Vanity Fair and came to a part where an English boy on vacation in Germany was described as having a pocket full of dollars. I thought that was more than a little odd, so I looked up "dollar" in the dictionary to see where the word came from.

The German word for valley is "tal"; a taler or thaler is a person or thing from a valley. Wikipedia explains that "the Thaler (or Taler or Talir) was a silver coin used throughout Europe for almost four hundred years." It is short for "Joachimsthaler", the first of such coins, which were minted in the valley of St. Joachim (now Jáchymov in the Czech Republic) beginning in the 16th century.

No comments: