Silver standard

The Spanish silver dollar created a global silver standard from the 16th to 19th centuries.

Monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed weight of silver.

- Silver standard
The Spanish silver dollar created a global silver standard from the 16th to 19th centuries.

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World administrative levels

Monetary system

System by which a government provides money in a country's economy.

System by which a government provides money in a country's economy.

World administrative levels

(This is known as the gold standard.) The silver standard was widespread after the fall of the Byzantine Empire, and lasted until 1935, when it was abandoned by China and Hong Kong.

Croeseid bimetallic equivalence: 1 gold Croeseid of 8.1 grams was equivalent in value to 10 silver Croeseids of 10.8 grams.

Bimetallism

Monetary standard in which the value of the monetary unit is defined as equivalent to certain quantities of two metals, typically gold and silver, creating a fixed rate of exchange between them.

Monetary standard in which the value of the monetary unit is defined as equivalent to certain quantities of two metals, typically gold and silver, creating a fixed rate of exchange between them.

Croeseid bimetallic equivalence: 1 gold Croeseid of 8.1 grams was equivalent in value to 10 silver Croeseids of 10.8 grams.
Achaemenid bimetallic equivalence: 1 gold Daric was equivalent in value to 20 silver Sigloi. Under the Achaemenids the exchange rate in weight between gold and silver was 1 to 13.
1896 Republican poster warns against free silver.

During the 19th century there was a great deal of scholarly debate and political controversy regarding the use of bimetallism in place of a gold or silver standard (monometallism).

China M2 money supply (red) vis-à-vis USA M2 money supply (blue)

Renminbi

Official currency of the People's Republic of China and one of the world's reserve currencies, ranking as the eighth most traded currency in the world as of April 2019.

Official currency of the People's Republic of China and one of the world's reserve currencies, ranking as the eighth most traded currency in the world as of April 2019.

China M2 money supply (red) vis-à-vis USA M2 money supply (blue)
The second series of the renminbi had the most readable minority languages text, but no Zhuang text on it. Its issue of ¥0.1–0.5 even highlighted the Mongolian text.
"People's Bank of China Ten Yuan" written in five different languages on the fifth series of the renminbi. From top to bottom and left to right: Mandarin pinyin, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur, and Zhuang languages.
A special edition designed for Inner Mongolia in the first series of the renminbi.
1 USD to RMB, since 1981
On 24 November 2010, Vladimir Putin announces that Russia's bilateral trade with China will be settled in ruble and yuan, instead of U.S. dollars.
Renminbi promotion at the China-CEEC 2017 summit

Various banknotes denominated in dollars or yuan were also introduced, which were convertible to silver dollars until 1935 when the silver standard was discontinued and the Chinese yuan was made fabi (法币; legal tender fiat currency).

Two golden 20 kr coins from the Scandinavian Monetary Union, which was based on a gold standard. The coin to the left is Swedish and the one on the right is Danish.

Gold standard

Monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is based on a fixed quantity of gold.

Monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is based on a fixed quantity of gold.

Two golden 20 kr coins from the Scandinavian Monetary Union, which was based on a gold standard. The coin to the left is Swedish and the one on the right is Danish.
Gold certificates were used as paper currency in the United States from 1882 to 1933. These certificates were freely convertible into gold coins.
The British gold sovereign or £1 coin was the preeminent circulating gold coin during the classical gold standard period.
Huge quantities of $20 double eagles were minted as a result of the California gold rush.
The US dollar was said to be on a limping standard due to huge quantities of Morgan silver dollars continuing to circulate at par with gold dollars despite their silver value being less.
William McKinley ran for president on the basis of the gold standard.
Ending the gold standard and economic recovery during the Great Depression.
Gold prices (US dollars per troy ounce) from 1914, in nominal US dollars and inflation adjusted US dollars.

Historically, the silver standard and bimetallism have been more common than the gold standard.

Spanish dollar, 1761

Mexican peso

Currency of Mexico.

Currency of Mexico.

Spanish dollar, 1761
Silver peso or 8 reales of "cap and ray" design used for East Asian trade, 1840
Front and back of an 1866 twenty-peso gold coin, depicting Maximilian I of Mexico.
Peseta or 25 centavos, 1889.
Quinto or 5 centavos, 1904.
2-peso centennial commemorative, 1921.
Tostón or 50 centavos, 1919.
100 pesos of the old Mexican peso, 1988 (Series A).
A ten-peso banknote of the London Bank of Mexico and South America at the National Numismatic Museum, Mexico City.
A Mexican dollar used as currency in Tokugawa Japan, countermarked with "Aratame sanbu sadame" (改三分定, fixed to the value of 3 bu).
The exchange rate of Mexican pesos per U.S. dollar since November 1991. Source: Bank of Mexico. latest rates

These pesos served as a global silver standard reserve currency until the start of the 20th century, and became the model for the various pesos of Spanish America as well as (among others) the United States dollar, Chinese yuan and the Japanese yen.

The Hatter's hat shows an example of the old pre-decimal system: the hat costs half a guinea (10/6).

Pound sterling

Official currency of the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the British Antarctic Territory, and Tristan da Cunha.

Official currency of the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the British Antarctic Territory, and Tristan da Cunha.

The Hatter's hat shows an example of the old pre-decimal system: the hat costs half a guinea (10/6).
King Offa penny (eighth century)
Penny of Henry III, 13th century
Edward III noble (80 pence), 1354–55
Crown (5/–) of Edward VI, 1551
Guinea of James II, 1686. The "Elephant and Castle" motif below his head is that of the Royal African Company: the gold came from Britain's trade in African slaves from the Guinea region of West Africa
"Shield reverse" sovereign of Queen Victoria, 1842
The cost of £1 in US dollars (from 1990)
The cost of one Euro in sterling terms (from 1999)
Reverse of a £5 Series G Bank of England note
The British Islands (red) and overseas territories (blue) using sterling or their local issue
Selection of current sterling banknotes printed by all banks

The last significant depreciation in sterling's silver standard occurred amidst the 16th century influx of precious metals from the American continent arriving through the Habsburg Netherlands.

Manila galleon (c. 1590 Boxer Codex)

Manila galleon

The Manila galleons (Galeón de Manila; ) were Spanish trading ships which for two and a half centuries linked the Spanish Crown’s Viceroyalty of New Spain, based in Mexico City, with her Asian territories, collectively known as the Spanish East Indies, across the Pacific Ocean.

The Manila galleons (Galeón de Manila; ) were Spanish trading ships which for two and a half centuries linked the Spanish Crown’s Viceroyalty of New Spain, based in Mexico City, with her Asian territories, collectively known as the Spanish East Indies, across the Pacific Ocean.

Manila galleon (c. 1590 Boxer Codex)
Manila-Accapulco galleon trade route, showing onward route to Spain
Iberian mare clausum claims during the Age of Discovery
Acapulco in 1628, Mexican terminus of the Manila galleon
Northerly trade route as used by eastbound Manila galleons
White represents the route of the Manila Galleons in the Pacific and the flota in the Atlantic. (Blue represents Portuguese routes.)
The Selden Map, a merchant map showing trade routes with its epicenter from Quanzhou to Manila and across the Spanish Philippines and across the Far East
Sample of goods brought via Manila galleon in Acapulco
Spanish galleon
Pacific Ocean with Mauna Kea highlighted
The Manila-Acapulco Galleon Memorial at Plaza Mexico in Intramuros, Manila.

East Asia trading primarily functioned on a silver standard due to Ming China's use of silver ingots as a medium of exchange.

A sample picture of a fictional ATM card. The largest part of the world's money exists only as accounting numbers which are transferred between financial computers. Various plastic cards and other devices give individual consumers the power to electronically transfer such money to and from their bank accounts, without the use of currency.

Money

Any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context.

Any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context.

A sample picture of a fictional ATM card. The largest part of the world's money exists only as accounting numbers which are transferred between financial computers. Various plastic cards and other devices give individual consumers the power to electronically transfer such money to and from their bank accounts, without the use of currency.
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A 640 BC one-third stater electrum coin from Lydia
Song Dynasty Jiaozi, the world's earliest paper money
Money Base, M1 and M2 in the U.S. from 1981 to 2012
Printing paper money at a printing press in Perm
A person counts a bundle of different Swedish banknotes.
A 1914 British gold sovereign
Gold coins are an example of legal tender that are traded for their intrinsic value, rather than their face value.
Huizi currency, issued in 1160
Paper money from different countries
Banknotes of different currencies with a face value of 5000
A check, used as a means of converting funds in a demand deposit to cash
US dollar banknotes
A former Finnish 10 mark banknote from 1980. President J. K. Paasikivi illustrated in a banknote.

No country anywhere in the world today has an enforceable gold standard or silver standard currency system.

German 5-mark Art Nouveau banknote from 1904, designed by Alexander Zick

German mark (1871)

The currency of the German Empire, which spanned from 1871 to 1918.

The currency of the German Empire, which spanned from 1871 to 1918.

German 5-mark Art Nouveau banknote from 1904, designed by Alexander Zick
Gold mark coins (1⁄2, 1, 5 and 20 mark)
Gold mark coins (1⁄2, 1, 5 and 20 mark)
100 Mark banknote from 1908

Despite the Vereinsthaler being a silver standard currency, it remained unlimited legal tender for 3 gold marks until it was demonetized in 1908.

Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother depicts destitute pea pickers in California, centering on Florence Owens Thompson, age 32, a mother of seven children, in Nipomo, California, March 1936.

Great Depression

Severe worldwide economic depression between 1929 and 1939 that began after a major fall in stock prices in the United States.

Severe worldwide economic depression between 1929 and 1939 that began after a major fall in stock prices in the United States.

Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother depicts destitute pea pickers in California, centering on Florence Owens Thompson, age 32, a mother of seven children, in Nipomo, California, March 1936.
The unemployment rate in the U.S. during 1910–60, with the years of the Great Depression (1929–39) highlighted
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, 1928–1930
Money supply decreased considerably between Black Tuesday and the Bank Holiday in March 1933 when there were massive bank runs across the United States.
Crowd gathering at the intersection of Wall Street and Broad Street after the 1929 crash
U.S. industrial production, 1928–1939
The Great Depression in the U.S. from a monetary view. Real gross domestic product in 1996-Dollar (blue), price index (red), money supply M2 (green) and number of banks (grey). All data adjusted to 1929 = 100%.
Crowd at New York's American Union Bank during a bank run early in the Great Depression
Crowds outside the Bank of United States in New York after its failure in 1931
Power farming displaces tenants from the land in the western dry cotton area. Childress County, Texas, 1938
The Depression in international perspective
The overall course of the Depression in the United States, as reflected in per-capita GDP (average income per person) shown in constant year 2000 dollars, plus some of the key events of the period. Dotted red line = long-term trend 1920–1970.
A female factory worker in 1942, Fort Worth, Texas. Women entered the workforce as men were drafted into the armed forces.
An impoverished American family living in a shanty, 1936
Unemployed men march in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Adolf Hitler speaking in 1935
Benito Mussolini giving a speech at the Fiat Lingotto factory in Turin, 1932
Unemployed people in front of a workhouse in London, 1930
Unemployed men standing in line outside a depression soup kitchen in Chicago 1931.
Burning shacks on the Anacostia flats, Washington, D.C. put up by the Bonus Army (World War I veterans) after the marchers with their wives and children were driven out by the regular Army by order of President Hoover, 1932
Buried machinery in a barn lot; South Dakota, May 1936. The Dust Bowl on the Great Plains coincided with the Great Depression.
CCC workers constructing drainage culvert, 1933. Over 3 million unemployed young men were taken out of the cities and placed into 2,600+ work camps managed by the CCC.
The WPA employed 2–3 million at unskilled labor.
Black Friday, May 9, 1873, Vienna Stock Exchange. The Panic of 1873 and Long Depression followed.

Countries such as China, which had a silver standard, almost avoided the depression entirely.