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Barter, Bills and Banknotes: The 5,000 Year History of Money

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 21:17
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Barter, Bills and Banknotes: The 5,000 Year History of Money

A long time ago, people did not buy or sell with money. Instead they traded one thing for another to get what they wanted or needed. This exchange of goods or services is called barter. At the beginning this was sufficient, but with the evolution of societies, certain needs made the creation of a more stable and more efficient way of trading imperative. Many cultures around the world eventually developed the use of money whose value was based on the value of the material from which it was made. This type of money is known as “specie money” and its value is guaranteed by the precious metal it contains.

A white slave market

A white slave market (public domain). Slaves could be either bought or traded.

The first coins were originally manufactured from copper and then iron because these were strong materials used to make weapons. The monetary value of currencies was based on the value of the metal from which they were made. Coins were convenient because they could be counted rather than weighed. Coins were a trusted and efficient medium of exchange because they helped to significantly boost trade in the ancient world. – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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