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Dollar (often represented by the dollar sign $) is the name of several currencies, including those of Australia, Belize, Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Namibia, New Zealand, Singapore, Suriname, Taiwan, the United States, and previously Zimbabwe. The U.S. dollar is the official currency of East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, the Caribbean Netherlands, and for banknotes, Panama. Generally, one dollar is divided into one hundred cents.
On 15 January 1520, the Kingdom of Bohemia began minting coins from silver mined locally in Joachimsthal (Czech Jáchymov). The coins were called “Joachimsthaler,” which became shortened in common usage to thaler or taler. The German name “Joachimsthal” literally means “Joachim’s valley” or “Joachim’s dale”. This name found its way into other languages: Czech tolar, Hungarian tallér, Danish and Norwegian (rigs) daler, Swedish (riks) daler, Icelandic dalur, Dutch (rijks)daalder or daler, Ethiopian (“talari”), Italian tallero, Polish talar, Persian dare, as well as via Dutch into English as dollar.
A later Dutch coin depicting a lion was called the leeuwendaler or leeuwendaalder, literally ‘lion daler’. The Dutch Republic produced these coins to accommodate its booming international trade. The leeuwendaler circulated throughout the Middle East and was imitated in several German and Italian cities. This coin was also popular in the Dutch East Indies and in the Dutch New Netherland Colony (New York). It was in circulation throughout the Thirteen Colonies during the 17th and early 18th centuries and was popularly known as “lion (or lyon) dollar”. The currencies of Romania and Bulgaria are, to this day, ‘lion’ (leu/leva). The modern American-English pronunciation of dollar is still remarkably close to the 17th century Dutch pronunciation of daler. Some well-worn examples circulating in the Colonies were known as “dog dollars”.
Spanish pesos – having the same weight and shape came to be known as Spanish dollars. By the mid-18th century, the lion dollar had been replaced by Spanish dollar, the famous “pieces of eight”, which were distributed widely in the Spanish colonies in the New World and in the Philippines.
Origins of the dollar sign
Main article: Dollar sign § Origin
The sign is first attested in business correspondence in the 1770s as a scribal abbreviation “ps”, referring to the Spanish American peso, that is, the “Spanish dollar” as it was known in British North America. These late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century manuscripts show that the s gradually came to be written over the p developing a close equivalent to the “$” mark, and this new symbol was retained to refer to the American dollar as well, once this currency was adopted in 1785 by the United States.
Courtesy : Wikipedia