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Pound (currency)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The pound is a unit of currency in some nations. The term originated in the Frankish Empire as a result of Charlemagne's currency reform ("pound" from Latin pondus, a unit of weight) and was subsequently taken to Great Britain as the value of a pound (weight) of silver.[1]

The English word pound is cognate with, among others, German Pfund, Dutch pond, and Swedish pund. All ultimately derive from a borrowing into Proto-Germanic of the Latin expression lībra pondō ("a pound by weight"), in which the word pondō is an adverb meaning "by weight" and related to the noun pondus ("weight"). The English word "pound" first referred to a unit of mass or weight; the monetary pound originated as a pound (by weight) of silver.[2]

The currency's symbol is £, a stylised representation of the letter L, standing for libra (Latin: "pound"). Historically, £1 worth of silver coins were a troy pound in weight; in August 2016 this amount of silver was worth approximately £170 sterling.

Today, the term may refer to the English name of a number of (primarily British and related) currencies and a variety of obsolete currencies. Some of them, those official in former Italian states[citation needed] and in countries formerly belonging to the Ottoman Empire, are called pound in English, while in the local languages their official name is lira.

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Many suggestions have been made about the origin of the $ symbol. One of the most common is that it derives from the figure 8, representing the Spanish piece of eight. In actual fact, it comes from a handwritten 'ps', an abbreviation for 'peso' an old spanish books. The dollar symbol first occurs in the 1770s in manuscript documents of English-Americans who had business dealing with Spanish-Americans, and it starts to appear in print after 1800. The word dollar itself derives from the Flemish or low-German word 'daler', in German 'daler' and 'daler', which is short for 'joachimstaler'. It refers to a coin from the silver mines of Joachimstal in Bohemia, which is now 'Jachymov' in the Czech Republic. The term was later applied to a term used in the Spanish-American colonies, and also in the British North American colonies at the time of the American war of Independence. Dollar was adopted as the name of the US currency unit in the late 18th century. Turning to the United Kingdom, what is the origin of the £ sign? This sign is simply a capital letter 'L' written in an old fashioned handwriting style, with one or two cross bars to show that it is being used as a symbol or abbreviation. The L stands for the Latin word 'libra', a Roman unit of weight which also gave rise to the abbreviation 'lb' for pound as a measure of weight and led to the French word 'livre' in turn. The symbol for the Japanese yen was probably an analogy with the £ and $ symbols, as it is a capital Y with two bars across it.


Countries currently using pound(s) as their currency

Currency ISO 4217 code Tied to
£ sterling?
 United Kingdom Pound sterling GBP
 Egypt Egyptian pound EGP No
 Lebanon Lebanese pound LBP No
 South Sudan South Sudanese pound SSP No
 Sudan Sudanese pound SDG No
 Syria Syrian pound SYP No
 Isle of Man Manx pound IMP* Yes
 Jersey Jersey pound JEP* Yes
 Guernsey Guernsey pound GGP* Yes
Gibraltar Gibraltar Gibraltar pound GIP Yes
 Saint Helena Saint Helena pound . Yes
 Ascension Island
 Tristan da Cunha
 Falkland Islands Falkland Islands pound Yes

*unofficial code

Countries where the official English name of the currency is "pound"
Countries where the official English name of the currency is "pound"

The pound sterling is also the currency of the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory[3] and British Indian Ocean Territory.[4][5]

Historical currencies

Currencies of the former British colonies in America

All of the following currencies have been replaced by the US dollar.

See also


  1. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, entry "pound"
  3. ^ "Foreign and Commonwealth Office country profiles: British Antarctic Territory". Archived from the original on 2003-09-02.
  4. ^ Foreign and Commonwealth Office country profiles: South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  5. ^ [1] Foreign and Commonwealth Office country profiles: British Indian Ocean Territory Archived October 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
This page was last edited on 25 February 2019, at 18:15
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