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Monday, January 28, 2008

World Currency Names: why is a franc called a franc?

Have you ever wonder why different kinds of money are called what they are? Why is peso called a peso and mark called a mark, for example? Well, the following list will let you find out a little bittle about what names of some world money mean.

AUKSINAS (Lithuania) - means "golden" or "gulden". Auksinas derives from lithuanian "Auksas" which means "gold".Currently "Litas" is used in Lithuania which has no particular or direct meaning or translation other than similarity with the name of the country "Lietuva" (Lithuania; Litauen; Lituanie; Lituania).

COLON (Costa Rica, El Salvador) - derives from last name of Christopher Columbus - Cristobal Colon.

DRACHMA (Greece) - means "handful".

ESCUDO (Portugal) - means "shield", referring to the coat of arms on the original coin.

FORINT (Hungary) - means "golden".

FRANC (Frank, Frang) (France, Switzerland, Luxembourg) - first issued in 1360, as a gold coin. Gets its name from its original Latin inscription - Francorum Rex, which means "King of the Franks", - the title given to kings of France in the 1300s.

GUILDER (Gulden, Florin) (Netherlands) - from the same root as "gilded", the guilder was originally a gold coin. It was first introduced from Florence in the 13th century. Florin - another nickname for Guilder means "flowers".

KORUNA (Czechia, Slovakia) - means "crown".

KRONA (Kroner, Kronor) (Iceland, Sweden, Norway etc.) - means "crown".

KUNA (Croatia) - means "marten". Marten skins were used as money.

LIRA (Lire) (Italy, Turkey) - from the Latin word libra, which means "pound".

MALOTI (Kingdom of Lesotho) - Maloti is plural for Loti, currency of Lesotho,a kingdom in Southern Africa.

PESETA (Spain) - means "little peso", and was created in the 18th century as a "companion" coin to the Spanish peso.

PESO (Mexico) - means "weight". It was introduced by Spain in 1497, then adopted by Mexico and other Latin American countries in the late 19th century.

POUND (English) - named for its weight in Sterlings, - the unit of currency in Medieval England. The first pound coin was issued in 1642.

PULA (Botswana) - Pula means ‘rain’ in Setswana, but "pula pula" does not mean a lot of rain. It means luck, prosperity, health.

RIYAL (Saudi Arabia) - borrows its name from the Spanish real, meaning "royal".

ROUBLE (Russia, Belarus etc.) - means "cut-off", a term that dates back to the days when portions of silver bars were literally cut-off from the bars and used as coins. The rouble was first issued as a silver piece in 1704.

RUPEE (Rupiah) (India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius etc.) - comes from the Sanskrit rupa, which means "beauty" or "shape".

TAKA (Bangladesh) - the word "taka" is derived from the sanskrit "tanka" which was an ancient denomination of silver coin. Taka currency name was also used in North India.

YEN (Japan) - borrowed from the Chinese yuan, which means "round", and describes the coin. First issued in 1870.

YUAN (China) - means "round" and describes the coin.

ZLOTY (Poland) - means "golden".

Source :

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This article is published with permission by Mr. Audrius Tomonis of

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