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World Paper Money from Many Countries Past and Present

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World Paper Money

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Paper money has a rich history that dates back to ancient China. However, it wasn’t until the 17th century that the first widespread use of paper money occurred in Europe. The creation of paper money was a response to the need for a more convenient and secure medium of exchange than coins, which were heavy and cumbersome to transport. During the Song Dynasty in China, merchants used paper bills as a form of payment. The first official paper currency was introduced in China during the Yuan Dynasty, which lasted from 1279 to 1368. This paper currency was called “jiaozi” and was used as a means of exchange for goods and services. Jiaozi were made of mulberry bark and other materials and had intricate designs to prevent counterfeiting. In Europe, paper money was first introduced in Sweden in the 1660s. The Swedish government issued paper notes to pay its soldiers during the war with Denmark. These notes were initially backed by copper and silver, but later became completely fiat currency, meaning they were not backed by any precious metal. The use of paper money quickly spread throughout Europe, with countries such as France, England, and Spain adopting the practice. By the early 18th century, paper money had become the dominant form of currency in Europe.

In the United States, paper money was first issued during the American Revolution to help finance the war effort. The Continental Congress issued “continentals,” which were backed by the promise of future tax revenues. However, due to rampant inflation, the continentals quickly lost their value and became worthless. Today, paper money is used around the world as a convenient and secure means of exchange. Most modern currencies are fiat currencies, meaning they are not backed by any physical commodity, but instead by the government’s promise to honor them as legal tender.

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