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US currency

The US dollar is the official currency of the United States of America. Nobody can get around it when it comes to the USA. The history of the US dollar is just as exciting as American immigration, because many nations and interests collide. So that you know exactly what you are dealing with, here is an overview of the US dollar.

What is the US dollar?

The United States Dollar (USD, symbol: $), often abbreviated as U.S. dollar, is the currency of the United States of America. In addition to the banknotes, there are also coins. One dollar is divided into 100 cents (symbol: ยข).

  • The US dollar is not only found in America.
  • It has also been introduced as currency by several other countries, namely the British Virgin Islands, Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama, Micronesia, Palau and East Timor.
  • Colloquially it is called "Greenback" (because of the color of the banknotes) or "Buck".
  • The dollar is freely convertible, which means that there is no limit to the number of foreigners and residents who can exchange it for other currencies.

The motto "E Pluribus Unum" (in German: "from many one") has been on all coins and banknotes since 1786. A few decades later, in 1873, with the implementation of the Coinage Act of 1864, the two-cent piece became the inscription "In God We Trust" (in German: "We trust in God") added.

The banknotes are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The United States Mint is responsible for the coinage.

The currency in America: US dollars.

History of the US currency

The introduction of a single currency in the form of paper in the USA took place in 1690. This was not that easy, because the many European colonies had to find an agreement that served all interests. The English colonies in particular were strongly represented on the east coast at this time, but the British pound was not recognized as a means of payment and there were also different currencies for trade within the colonies.

In addition ...

  • ... the East India Company and other trading companies ruled the lands of America economically.
  • ... trade in their own country was made more difficult by the levying of goods tariffs on the borders of the existing 13 American colonies, which regarded themselves as sovereign states.
  • ... bills of exchange were handed out which could then be redeemed in England itself in order to enter into trade with the United Kingdom.
  • ... English money was not allowed to be imported into America.

In the 17th and early 18th centuries, corn, tobacco and Indian shell money (called wampun) were bartered, but coinage was also not unknown in seven colonies at the time. The problem was that the value of these coins was different and that the colonies were breaking the prevailing English law by minting their own coins. This stated that the right to mint was only allowed to the English king and parliament.

  • In 1704, the minting of coins was finally banned.
  • A boom in the American economy and the resulting independence should be prevented by the ban on the minting of coins.
  • Foreign money (including from the Netherlands and Spain) became the means of payment for the Americans and made trade between and within the colonies easier.
  • In this context, the name "Dollar" originated from the translation of the word "Talers" returns.

The minting of the South and Central American "Dolares", which the English called "Spanish Dollars", ultimately gave rise to the unofficial name of the American currency. The colonists created during the American War of Independence additionally their own currency to underline their self-sufficiency. The then President Thomas Jefferson arranged for the new dollar to be further subdivided into 100 cents, which was a clear sign of the independence of the American currency. There was still no single currency, because other countries (e.g. England) divided their currencies differently and thus made payment transactions more difficult.

The first american penny coin was minted in the USA in 1787. The quarter, half, and dollar and dimes were also given shape. These coins were made of silver and copper, but the higher quality Eagles ($ 10) were made of gold. In fact, it wasn't until the late 19th century that the first paper dollar bills came into circulation, depicting portraits of famous Americans, the seal of the Treasury Department and were therefore harder to forge.

In the 19th century the Development of the dollar very different. The dollar went through phases of growth and economic crises. Due to the strong immigration flows, among other things caused by the gold rush, the economy recovered again and again.
In 1862 paper money was launched, which was named "Greenback" because of its color and was printed with images of important Americans on the front.

The first copper-colored cent coin was made in 1787.

As early as 1867, Napoleon III tried. to establish a fixed exchange rate between the franc and the dollar. But this did not happen during this time. In 1944, the dollar became the key international currency. This meant that, among other things, oil, gold and cotton were only paid for with the dollar.

The US dollar reached its all-time low on July 15, 2008, when the euro was trading at $ 1.5990. The historic high of the US dollar since the introduction of the euro was recorded on October 26, 2000 at 0.8252 dollars.

International significance

At least since the end of the Second World War, the US dollar has been considered worldwide reserve currency and henceforth largely replaced the British pound as the leading currency in the markets.

  • In some countries around the world, the US dollar is an unofficial second or minor currency and is accepted as a means of payment in shops and hotels.
  • Raw materials on the world market, especially oil, are traded in this currency (petrodollars).

In 2003, the share of US dollar transactions in the foreign exchange markets was 50 percent, compared with 25 percent in euros and 10 percent each in pounds sterling and Japanese yen.

Nicknames of the dollar

Generally, a dollar is called a "buck" designated. The term is probably derived from the shortened term "bugskin" (suede fur), which was used as a means of payment in the American founding years. The name "Greenback" due to the color of the banknotes is also common.

The individual banknotes also have nicknames:

BanknoteNickname
1 dollar notesingle
2 dollar notedeuce
5 dollar notefin or fiver
10 dollar notesawbuck
20 dollar notedouble sawbuck
100 dollar notelarge
1000 dollar noteGrand or G

Often the notes are also labeled with the names of the people depicted on the front, such as George, Tom or Frank. Occasionally the grades are with "dead presidents" (dead presidents) because Alexander Hamilton (pictured on the $ 10 note) and Benjamin Franklin (pictured on the $ 100 note) were not presidents.

What one-dollar coins are there in US currency?

Since 1999 there are quarters in the USA as commemorative coins, the "50 State Quarters". A modified image of George Washington can be seen on the front, and motifs from the individual states are embossed on the back.

Are currently three different one dollar coins in circulation:

For one, there is the one dollar coin on which Susan B. Anthony is shown. The coin was introduced in 1979 but turned out to be very unpopular. The shape, which is unusually slightly angular for a coin, was met with skepticism. Furthermore, the coin has the same color and approximately the same size as the quarter, which led to confusion. The one-dollar bill thus remained the far more popular means of payment. The regular minting of this one-dollar coin was discontinued in 1980. There were special issues in 1981 and 1999.

In 2000 a new attempt was made to establish a one-dollar coin.

This new coin shows that Shoshonin Sacagawea. It is golden and therefore easy to distinguish from the other coins. It also has the traditional round shape. Nevertheless, this coin was not accepted by the Americans either. In Ecuador, however, it is very common, as the Sacagawea portrait resembles an Ecuadorian highland Indian.

On February 15, 2007, a third generation of one dollar coin, the presidential dollar, was introduced.

  • On the value side is that statue of Liberty to see.
  • On the picture side, new coins with the faces of the deceased presidents are issued every three months.
  • The first coin therefore depicts George Washington, three months later the one-dollar coin with the portrait of John Adams was issued.
  • This coin is also golden.
  • The coin is still rarely found in normal payment transactions and is not accepted as a means of payment by all businesses.

Distribution of American Coins & Bills

Originally intended as paper currency, both coins and banknotes are in circulation. The US currency notes are very popular as a means of payment, the coins are rarely used. Today's Americans like to use credit cards to make cashless payments. Nevertheless, American coins and banknotes are divided into the following units:

Coins (in $)Banknotes (in $)
0.01 penny1
0.05 nickel2
0.10 dime5
0.25 quarter dollars10
0.50 half dollars20
1 dollar50
100
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