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Diamonds, Gemstones, Pirates- How Sir Walter Raleigh Created the American Dollar

Mar 22, 2008
Diamonds, gemstones and most of all Spanish galleons filled with silver coins known as the dollar would be transferred from ships bound for Spain to smaller, lighter ships now bound for England.

And this booty would be in the name of the Queen, but of course there were always the expenses, to be paid mostly by the Spanish silver dollars that were worth their weight in silver.

The Kings and Queens were welcome to the diamonds and gemstones and glories and planting flags. But all those who did the work made sure they also received their honest silver dollars. Each dollar was worth it's weight in silver, and the Queen could only count what she could see.

So when your share of your dollars due was to be finished off with some change, they would cut up a silver dollar in half, and then in half, and again, until they had eight equal pieces of silver, each worth it's weight equally.

You had your payment in Spanish dollars, and as change some pieces of eight. Awk, is that your parrot or mine? So while forms of money varied after Sir Walter, many types of money were tried and used between each new town.

You could pay in Pounds or Francs or Guilders in New Amsterdam, or any other money there. Everywhere, English Pounds in many places were more accepted than the poor Revolutionary dollars that kept becoming worthless.

A point arrived along with independence that some semblance of a financial system needed to be worked out. And while they worked on that they continued to apply the dollar as their standard. Exchange a Spanish King for an American President, all in English, One American Dollar, and complete makeover except the basic concept.

And about those pieces of eight. They are still with us. Two bits of those pieces of eight made a quarter, or two bits. Every one knows four quarters make a dollar. Lucky they did not use Peso that far back, or can you imagine the backlash in Washington DC today?

But about the dollar and two bits. What is so new about that? Apparently, not much. Wonderful when a pirate named Sir Walter decides where to create HQ for the new great civilization, inside huge Chesapeake Bay, name the south side Virginia and start there, cotton and tobacco.

But you also taught us how to steal the concept and the real dollars and the pieces of eight to get away from that stuffy English Pound system. What a guy, Sir Walter. You deserved a finer end to your life, considering it was you and a handful of Drakes and such chaps to send the language of 2.5 million in 1500 to work into becoming the working language of the world.

And you started smoking that pipe in a place you named Virginia. Excellent vision, Sir W. This Spanish dollar system continued to be used by the New York Stock Exchange until beyond 1990. That is just one legacy of one of my very favorite pirates, Sir Walter Raleigh.

Raleigh noted it was quicker to obtain more diamonds and dollars than Pounds and pence. He is a real diamond in American history. Raleigh found his choice between paying in Spanish bargain dollars by the galleon, or find pinch penny pounds. If he were you, what would you do?
About the Author
Derek Dashwood loves the combining of science into the humanities to measure happiness and bliss.Love and showing it is central as you know, and here you can see
A Diamond With Your Name On It
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