The full text of this article is available to Plus members only.
For full access to all of our articles, please Join or Log In.
Not a Plus Member?
History Matters: Making Money
Our ancestors' have always been paying their dues.

Americans like to think of the dollar as king, but in the history of currency, that honor probably belongs to the humble cowry. A type of mollusk shell common in the shallow waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans, the cowry was used as money as early as 1200 BC in China. There, the first pictograph meaning “money” depicted a shell. The most widely and longest-used currency in history, cowries were exchanged in Africa into the mid-20th century.

To continue reading this article
Share |
Did you enjoy this article?
Please share it!
Recent Blog Posts »
Recent Articles »

Free Genealogy Downloads

Historical Maps of Europe Premium Collection
When you buy the Historical Maps of Europe Premium Collection, you'll get the brand new Family Tree Historical Maps Book: Europe, as well as an assortment of other incredible tools to trace you ancestors back to the home country and visualize the world in which they lived--in full color.
Only available in March, this collection has a retail value of $197.95, but is yours this month only for $59.99!

They're going fast - get yours today!

©  F+W All rights reserved.