Do You Know Where The “Birthplace” Of The American Dollar Is?
If someone tells you that one of the world’s strongest currencies, the US dollar, was born in a small town
in a European country that was once under the Soviet boot, probably you would think he is talking
However, it is true – the cradle of the US dollar is located right there, in the north of the Czech Republic,
near the border with Germany, in the small town of Jáchymov.
Even if you visited this small town, you would have no idea how important it was to the world economy
throughout history. It looks like a completely ordinary, quite town with Gothic architecture tucked into
the greenery of the surrounding hills and forests.
Europe used to be ruled by rulers who fought each other for territory and power. And they tried to
achieve this by minting their own currencies.
At that time, Jáchymov was a just a mining town where Count Schlick way back in year 1520 minted for
the first time his silver coins (so-called thalers) and in a quantity much larger than any other coin.
Thanks to this, the small town of Jáchymov became one of the largest mining centers in Europe, where
more than 8,000 miners used to work. It’s estimated that by the middle of the 16th century, around 12
million thalers were minted, which is more than any other currency in Europe. Because of this the local
silver deposits soon dried up.
As the thaler became more famous, it became the model for money to many other countries around
Europe and the world. And that included names that originated from talir: dalur, tallero, taliro… for
example, the former Slavic tolar. Even the Romanian leu and the Bulgarian lev took their names from
the lion that was on the original thalers.
The Germans nailed it by calling their coins leeuwendaler (“lion dollar”) or abbreviated: daler. When the
Dutch arrived in today’s USA in the 17th century, they brought with them the name for what would
become one of the world’s most famous currencies: today’s dollar.
Today in Jáchymov there is a museum named Royal Mint House, a place where 500 years ago the great-
grandparents of today’s dollar were “born”.
In Jáchymov today you can pay with Czech crowns, euros and even Russian rubles, but ironically you
won’t be able to pay with dollars!