The History of Money

History of money

Money is valuable merely because everyone knows everyone else will accept it as a form of payment. Over its vast history money has been central to developing our modern international trade networks – so let’s take a look at where it has been and how it has evolved.

Before money, early man used a bartering system, trading the goods they had in surplus for the goods they lacked. Bartering was first recorded as far back as 9000 B.C in ancient Egypt. Grain and Cattle were popular to barter. During famines which were quite frequent, one did not starve if one had savings; and many a peasant rose on the social ladder by exchanging hoarded corn for land during times of dearth.

The First official currency was minted by King Alyattes of Lydia, modern day Turkey. Lydia’s currency helped the country increase both its internal and external trade, making it one of the richest empires in Asia. Unfortunately, minting the first coins and developing a strong trading economy couldn’t protect Lydia from the swords of the Persian army. Just when it looked like Lydia was taking the lead in currency developments, in 600 B.C., the Chinese moved from coins to paper money. In the place of where the American bills say, “In God We Trust,” the Chinese inscription warned, “All counterfeiters will be decapitated.”    The travels of Marco Polo to china in 1290A.D, introduced the idea of paper money to Europeans. However Europeans were not too keen to follow the lead of the Chinese. In 1661A.D, Sweden became the first European Nation to print paper money.  Paper money was great for business because it could be mass produced without relying on raw metals such as gold and silver.

The move from bartering systems to coins and notes made it easier in the long run for countries to trade with each other. However, in the beginning, there was a lack of understanding of the value of one’s currency when compared to foreign currencies. This caused many countries to resort back to bartering when dealing outside of their own currency. Thankfully, nowadays, there is an expert like TransferMate to help you with foreign exchange.  TransferMate will not only save you money on Making International Payments, but also on Receiving money from abroad.


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