The history of money
Have you ever wondered how money started? The first kinds of money
didn't look anything like what we use for money now. This paper will
look at how money moved from stuff to the bills and coins we use now. I
will include a kind of timeline to show what money was used when.
Before there was money, there was bartering. Bartering is the thing you
do when you trade something for something else. Some people think that
animals and plants do it! (That is not true!!!) Some people still do
bartering, even in America! One time, Mommy traded Miss Pam, her
hairdresser, piano lessons for her daughter in exchange for getting her
9,000--6,00 BC: Cattle
After bartering, there was Cattle, which is anything from cows, to
sheep, to camels, are the first and oldest form of money. It is almost
bartering, but it is not. After a while, people started using fruits and
1,200 BC: Cowrie shells
After cattle, there were Cowrie shells. A Cowrie shell is a small clam
shell. It was first used in China. Many countries have used cowries as
money, and even as recently as the middle of (the twentieth) century.
Cowries have also been used in some parts of Africa. The Cowrie is the
most widely and longest used money in history.
1,000 BC: First Metal Money and Coins
After real Cowrie shells, they made bonze and copper Cowrie shells in
China at the end of the Stone Age. These were some of the earliest metal
coins. Metal tool money, such as knife and spade money, was also first
used in China. This early metal money became coins. Chinese coins often
had holes so they could be put together like a chain.
500 BC: modern Coinage
After fake cowry shells, people outside of China made the first coins
out of lumps of silver! They soon started to look like (the) round coins
we use now, and were stamped with various gods and emperors to mark
where they were from. These early coins were first used in Lydia, which
is part of present-day Turkey, but the techniques were quickly copied
and changed by the Greek, Persian, Macedonian, and later the Roman
empires. Unlike Chinese coins, which depended on base metals, like
copper, these new coins were made from precious metals such as silver,
bronze, and gold, which had more value.
118 BC: 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 known banknote (dollar).
800-900 AD: The Nose
The phrase, "to pay through the nose" comes form Danes in Ireland, who
slit the noses of those who were lazy in paying the Danish poll tax.
806 AD: Paper Currency
The first paper banknote appeared in China. In all, China experienced
over 500 years of early paper money, going from the ninth through the
fifteenth century. Then, beginning in 1455, the use of paper money in
China disappeared for several hundred years.
Wampum, which are strings of beads made from clam shells, was first used
by North American Indians in 1535. The Indian word, "wampum,: means
white, which was the color of the beads.
1816: The Gold Standard
After wampum, gold was first made the standard in England in 1816. Then,
they made a bank note worth a certain value of gold. Banknotes had been
used in England and Europe for several hundred years before this time,
but they were never worth gold. In the united States, the Gold Standard
Act was started in 1900, which later led to a bank.
1930: End of the Gold Standard
The massive Depression of the 1930s ended the Gold Standard. In the
United States, the gold standard was changed and the price of gold was
lowered. The British and International gold standards soon ended as
Today, money continues to change and develop, as evidenced by the new
$100 U.S. Ben Franklin bill. The hundred-dollar bill changed in 1996 to
make it harder to copy. First, the picture of Ben Franklin was made
bigger, and then it was moved to the left, which made it harder to
crease his face. They also added more fine lines in the writing on the
bill. Another special thing about the $100 bill is the special ink. It
is black and green, depending on the light. This ink is only made in
The Future: Electronic Money
Digital cash in the form of bits and bytes will most likely become a new
money of the future. Businesses are already using this kind of money on