A postal order is a financial instrument intended for sending money through the mail. It is payable at another post office to the named recipient. A small fee for the service, known as poundage, is paid by the purchaser. In the United States, this is known as a postal money order. Postal orders are not legal tender, but a type of promissory note, similar to a cheque; the postal order is a direct descendent of the money order, established by a private company in 1792. During World War I and World War II, British postal orders were temporarily declared legal tender to save paper and labour. Postal orders can be bought and redeemed at post offices in the UK, although a crossed postal order must be paid into a bank account; until April 2006 they came in fixed denominations but due to increased popularity they were redesigned to make them more flexible and secure. They now have the value added at the time of purchase, making them more like a cheque; the fee for using this form of payment falls into one of three bands - details are available on the Post Office website.
The maximum value of postal order available is £250.00 with the fee capped at £12.50. Despite competition from cheques and electronic funds transfer, postal orders continue to appeal to customers as a form of payment for shopping on the Internet, as they are drawn on the Post Office's accounts so a vendor can be certain that they will not bounce, they enable those without a bank account, including minors, to make small financial transactions without the need for cash. Postal workers in the United Kingdom use voided or cancelled orders in their training; the use of postal orders was extended to most countries that are now part of the British Commonwealth of Nations, plus to a few foreign countries such as Jordan and Thailand. United States Postal Money Orders appear facially as a draft against an account held by the United States Postal Service, the United States Postal Service requires a purchaser to know, in advance, where presentment of the instrument will occur. Only special, more expensive United States International Postal Money Orders may be presented abroad.
In the United States, international money orders are pink and domestic money orders are green. See Postal orders of Canada. Canada had its own postal orders from 1898 until 1 April 1949, when these were discontinued and withdrawn. A British Forces Post Office in Suffield, Alberta was issuing British Postal Orders as late as July 2006. Postal orders are gaining in popularity as collectibles among numismatists who collect banknotes. There is an active numismatic organisation in the UK called the Postal Order Society, established in 1985 with members both domestically and overseas, they hold twice-yearly postal auctions of postal orders and related material from across the British Commonwealth. A Defence canteen order was a variant of a postal order used in Australia during World War II. Purchased at a post office, it was payable to an enlisted person in goods from a canteen rather than being a cash instrument. George Archer-Shee, whose court case inspired Terence Rattigan's play The Winslow Boy. List of countries that have used postal orders Lunn, Howard.
A Guide to the History and Values of British Postal Orders 1881-1984. Howard Lunn. Lunn, Howard. Promotional Postal Orders. East Stour, Gillingham: Howard Lunn. Malaysian Postal Order images - RM1 to RM100. USPS Money Orders
South African rand
The rand is the official currency of South Africa. The rand is subdivided into 100 cents; the ISO 4217 code is ZAR, from Zuid-Afrikaanse rand. The rand is legal tender in the Common Monetary Area between South Africa, Swaziland and Namibia, although the last three countries do have their own currencies pegged at par with the rand; when referring to the currency, the abbreviation is upper case "R", but the name is spelt "rand" in lower case in both English and Afrikaans. Before 1976, the rand was legal tender in Botswana; the rand takes its name from the Witwatersrand, the ridge upon which Johannesburg is built and where most of South Africa's gold deposits were found. The rand was introduced in the Union of South Africa on 14 February 1961, three months before the country declared itself a republic. A Decimal Coinage Commission had been set up in 1956 to consider a move away from the denominations of pounds and pence, it replaced the South African pound as legal tender, at the rate of 2 rand to 1 pound, or 10 shillings to the rand.
The government introduced a mascot, Decimal Dan, "the rand-cent man". This was accompanied by a radio jingle. One rand was worth US$1.40 from the time of its inception in 1961 until late-1971. Its value thereafter fluctuated as various exchange rate dispensations were implemented by the South African authorities. By the early-1980s, high inflation and mounting political pressure combined with sanctions placed against the country due to international opposition to the apartheid system had started to erode its value; the currency broke above parity with the dollar for the first time in March 1982, continued to trade between R 1 and R 1.30 to the dollar until June 1984, when depreciation of the currency gained momentum. By February 1985, it was trading at over R 2 per dollar, in July that year, all foreign exchange trading was suspended for three days to try to stop the depreciation. By the time that State President P. W. Botha made his Rubicon speech on 15 August 1985, it had weakened to R 2.40 per dollar.
The currency recovered somewhat between 1986–88, trading near the R 2 level most of the time and breaking beneath it sporadically. The recovery was short-lived, by the end of 1989, the rand was trading at more than R 2.50 per dollar. As it became clear in the early-1990s that the country was destined for Black majority rule and one reform after the other was announced, uncertainty about the future of the country hastened the depreciation until the level of R 3 to the dollar was breached in November 1992. A host of local and international events influenced the currency after that, most notably the 1994 general election which had it weaken to over R 3.60 to the dollar, the election of Tito Mboweni as the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, the inauguration of President Thabo Mbeki in 1999 which had it slide to over R 6 to the dollar. The controversial land reform programme, initiated in Zimbabwe, followed by the September 11, 2001 attacks, propelled it to its weakest historical level of R 13.84 to the dollar in December 2001.
This sudden depreciation in 2001 led to a formal investigation, which in turn led to a dramatic recovery. By the end of 2002, the currency was trading under R 9 to the dollar again, by the end of 2004 was trading under R 5.70 to the dollar. The currency softened somewhat in 2005, was trading around R 6.35 to the dollar at the end of the year. At the start of 2006, the currency resumed its rally, as of 19 January 2006, was trading under R 6 to the dollar again. However, during the second and third quarters of 2006, the rand weakened significantly. In sterling terms, it fell from around 9.5p to just over 7p, losing some 25% of its international trade-weighted value in just six months. In late-2007, the rand rallied modestly to just over 8p, only to experience a precipitous slide during the first quarter of 2008; this downward slide could be attributed to a range of factors: South Africa's worsening current account deficit, which widened to a 36‑year high of 7.3% of gross domestic product in 2007.
The rand depreciation was exacerbated by the Eskom electricity crisis, which arose from the utility being unable to meet the country's growing energy demands. A stalled mining industry in late-2012 led to new lows in early-2013. In late January 2014, the rand slid to R11.25 to the dollar, with analysts attributing the shift to "word from the US Federal Reserve that it would trim back stimulus spending, which led to a massive sell-off in emerging economies." In 2014, South Africa experienced its worst year against the US dollar since 2009, in March 2015, the rand traded at its worst since 2002. At the time, Trading Economics released data that the rand "averaged R4.97 to the dollar between 1972–2015, reaching an all time high of R12.45 in December 2001 and a record low of R0.67 in June of 1973." By the end of 2014, the rand had weakened to R 15.05 per dollar due to South Africa's consistent trade account deficit with the rest of the world. From 9–13 December 2015, over a four-day period, the r
South Africa the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation, it is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status; the remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European and multiracial ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures and religions, its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans.
The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, regular elections have been held for a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country's recent history and politics; the National Party imposed apartheid in 1948. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in 1990. Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's liberal democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity in the wake of apartheid; the World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, a newly industrialised country.
Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, the 34th-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa; however and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day. South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, maintains significant regional influence; the name "South Africa" is derived from the country's geographic location at the southern tip of Africa. Upon formation, the country was named the Union of South Africa in English, reflecting its origin from the unification of four separate British colonies. Since 1961, the long form name in English has been the "Republic of South Africa". In Dutch, the country was named Republiek van Zuid-Afrika, replaced in 1983 by the Afrikaans Republiek van Suid-Afrika. Since 1994, the Republic has had an official name in each of its 11 official languages. Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning "south", is a colloquial name for South Africa, while some Pan-Africanist political parties prefer the term "Azania".
South Africa contains human-fossil sites in the world. Archaeologists have recovered extensive fossil remains from a series of caves in Gauteng Province; the area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been branded "the Cradle of Humankind". The sites include one of the richest sites for hominin fossils in the world. Other sites include Gondolin Cave Kromdraai, Coopers Cave and Malapa. Raymond Dart identified the first hominin fossil discovered in Africa, the Taung Child in 1924. Further hominin remains have come from the sites of Makapansgat in Limpopo Province and Florisbad in the Free State Province, Border Cave in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Klasies River Mouth in Eastern Cape Province and Pinnacle Point and Die Kelders Cave in Western Cape Province; these finds suggest that various hominid species existed in South Africa from about three million years ago, starting with Australopithecus africanus. There followed species including Australopithecus sediba, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo rhodesiensis, Homo helmei, Homo naledi and modern humans.
Modern humans have inhabited Southern Africa for at least 170,000 years. Various researchers have located pebble tools within the Vaal River valley. Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen, were present south of the Limpopo River by the 4th or 5th century CE, they displaced and absorbed the original Khoisan speakers, the Khoikhoi and San peoples. The Bantu moved south; the earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050. The southernmost group was the Xhosa people, whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier Khoisan people; the Xhosa reached the Great Fish River, in today's Eastern Cape Province. As they migrated, these larger Iron Age populations
Bophuthatswana the Republic of Bophuthatswana, was a Bantustan, declared nominally independent by the apartheid regime of South Africa in 1977. However, its independence, like the other Bantustans was not recognized by any country other than South Africa. Bophuthatswana was the second Bantustan to be declared an independent state, after Transkei, its territory constituted a scattered patchwork of enclaves spread across what was Cape Province, Orange Free State and Transvaal. Its seat of government was Mmabatho. During its last days of existence, events taking place within its borders led to the weakening and split of right-wing Afrikaner resistance towards democratizing South Africa. On 27 April 1994, it was reintegrated into South Africa with the coming into force of the country's interim constitution, its territory was distributed between the new provinces of the Free State and North West Province. The area comprising former native reserves was set up as the only homeland for Tswana-speaking people in 1961 and administered by the Tswana Territorial Authority.
It was given nominal self-rule in 1971, elections were held the following year. Following the 1977 elections, Lucas Mangope became president after his Bophuthatswana Democratic Party won a majority of seats; the territory became nominally independent on 6 December 1977. Bophuthatswana's independence was not recognized by any government other than those of South Africa and Transkei, the first homeland to gain nominal independence. In addition, it was internally recognized by the two additional countries within the TBVC-system and Venda. Arguing in favour of independence, President Mangope claimed that the move would enable its population to negotiate with South Africa from a stronger position: "We would rather face the difficulties of administering a fragmented territory, the wrath of the outside world, accusations of ill-informed people. It's the price we are prepared to pay for being masters of our own destiny."United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim stated that he "strongly deplored" the establishment of "another so-called independent tribal homeland in pursuance of the discredited policies of apartheid," and in resolution A/RES/32/105N, passed on 14 December 1977, the United Nations General Assembly linked Bophuthatswana's "so-called'independence'" to South Africa's "stubborn pursuit" of its policies, called upon all governments to "deny any form of recognition to the so-called'independent' bantustans."During a parliamentary debate in the UK on 6 December 1977, Foreign Secretary David Owen replied in the negative when asked "whether Her Majesty's Government intend to recognise travel documents issued by the authorities of Bophuthatswana for the purpose of admitting visitors to the United Kingdom."While the majority of news reports echoed these official declarations, there were others which opined that Western critics should "suspend judgment for a time," and despite its critical stance on South Africa's policies, Time magazine wrote that Bophuthatswana had "considerable economic potential" with an expected $30 million a year coming from mining revenues.
Despite its official isolation, the government in Mmabatho managed to set up a trade mission in Tel Aviv and conducted some business with neighbouring Botswana in an effort to sway attitudes. Bophuthatswana maintained an unofficial embassy in Israel during the 1980s, located next to the British embassy in Tel Aviv; the Israeli Foreign Ministry objected to the embassy's presence, as Israel did not recognize Bophuthatswana as a country. The bantustan's president, Lucas Mangope, was able to meet with prominent figures such as Moshe Dayan during visits to Israel. In the 1982 elections, the Democratic Party won all 72 elected seats, it won a large majority in the 1987 elections. On 10 February 1988 Rocky Malebane-Metsing of the People's Progressive Party became the President of Bophuthatswana for one day when he took over the government through a military coup, he accused Mangope of corruption and charged that the recent election had been rigged in the government's favour. A statement by the defence force said "serious and disturbing matters of great concern" had emerged, citing Mangope's close association with a multimillionaire Soviet emigre.
Subsequently, the South African Defence Force invaded Bophuthatswana and Mangope was reinstated and continued his term unabated. P. W. Botha, president of South Africa at the time, justified the reinstatement by saying that "he South African Government is opposed in principle to the obtaining or maintaining of power by violence."In 1990, a second coup attempt took place in which an estimated 50,000 protesters demanded the president's resignation over his handling of the economy. The New York Times reported that seven people had been killed and 450 wounded "after police officers in armoured cars fired their rifles into the crowds and used tear gas and rubber bullets." After Mangope had asked for help from the South African government, he declared a state of emergency and cut telephone links to the territory "for political reasons," claiming that "normal laws had become inadequate." Human Rights Watch put the number of protesters at 150,000. In the beginning of 1994 with South Africa heading for democratic elections, the President Lucas Mangope resisted the elections taking place in Bophuthatswana and opposed reincorporation o
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations known as the Commonwealth, is a unique political association of 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focuses on intergovernmental aspects, the Commonwealth Foundation, which focuses on non-governmental relations between member states; the Commonwealth dates back to the first half of the 20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was created as the British Commonwealth through the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference, formalised by the United Kingdom through the Statute of Westminster in 1931; the current Commonwealth of Nations was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which modernised the community, established the member states as "free and equal". The human symbol of this free association is the Head of the Commonwealth Queen Elizabeth II, the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting appointed Charles, Prince of Wales to be her designated successor, although the position is not technically hereditary.
The Queen is the head of state of 16 member states, known as the Commonwealth realms, while 32 other members are republics and five others have different monarchs. Member states have no legal obligations to one another. Instead, they are united by English language, history and their shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law; these values are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter and promoted by the quadrennial Commonwealth Games. The countries of the Commonwealth cover more than 29,958,050 km2, equivalent to 20% of the world's land area, span all six inhabited continents. Queen Elizabeth II, in her address to Canada on Dominion Day in 1959, pointed out that the confederation of Canada on 1 July 1867 had been the birth of the "first independent country within the British Empire", she declared: "So, it marks the beginning of that free association of independent states, now known as the Commonwealth of Nations." As long ago as 1884 Lord Rosebery, while visiting Australia, had described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a "Commonwealth of Nations".
Conferences of British and colonial prime ministers occurred periodically from the first one in 1887, leading to the creation of the Imperial Conferences in 1911. The Commonwealth developed from the imperial conferences. A specific proposal was presented by Jan Smuts in 1917 when he coined the term "the British Commonwealth of Nations" and envisioned the "future constitutional relations and readjustments in essence" at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, attended by delegates from the Dominions as well as Britain; the term first received imperial statutory recognition in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, when the term British Commonwealth of Nations was substituted for British Empire in the wording of the oath taken by members of parliament of the Irish Free State. In the Balfour Declaration at the 1926 Imperial Conference and its dominions agreed they were "equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations".
The term "Commonwealth" was adopted to describe the community. These aspects to the relationship were formalised by the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which applied to Canada without the need for ratification, but Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland had to ratify the statute for it to take effect. Newfoundland never did, as on 16 February 1934, with the consent of its parliament, the government of Newfoundland voluntarily ended and governance reverted to direct control from London. Newfoundland joined Canada as its 10th province in 1949. Australia and New Zealand ratified the Statute in 1947 respectively. Although the Union of South Africa was not among the Dominions that needed to adopt the Statute of Westminster for it to take effect, two laws—the Status of the Union Act, 1934, the Royal Executive Functions and Seals Act of 1934—were passed to confirm South Africa's status as a sovereign state. After the Second World War ended, the British Empire was dismantled. Most of its components have become independent countries, whether Commonwealth realms or republics, members of the Commonwealth.
There remain the 14 self-governing British overseas territories which retain some political association with the United Kingdom. In April 1949, following the London Declaration, the word "British" was dropped from the title of the Commonwealth to reflect its changing nature. Burma and Aden are the only states that were British colonies at the time of the war not to have joined the Commonwealth upon independence. Former British protectorates and mandates that did not become members of the Commonwealth are Egypt, Transjordan, Sudan, British Somaliland, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates; the postwar Commonwealth was given a fresh mission by Queen Elizabeth in her Christmas Day 1953 broadcast, in which she envisioned the Commonwealth as "an new conception – built on the highest qualities of the Spirit of Man: friendship and the desire for freedom and peace". Hoped for success was reinforced by such achievements as climbing Mount Everest in 1953, breaking the four-minute mile in 1954
A banknote is a type of negotiable promissory note, made by a bank, payable to the bearer on demand. Banknotes were issued by commercial banks, which were required to redeem the notes for legal tender when presented to the chief cashier of the originating bank; these commercial banknotes only traded at face value in the market served by the issuing bank. Commercial banknotes have been replaced by national banknotes issued by central banks. National banknotes are legal tender, meaning that medium of payment is allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation. Banks sought to ensure that they could always pay customers in coins when they presented banknotes for payment; this practice of "backing" notes with something of substance is the basis for the history of central banks backing their currencies in gold or silver. Today, most national currencies have no backing in precious metals or commodities and have value only by fiat. With the exception of non-circulating high-value or precious metal issues, coins are used for lower valued monetary units, while banknotes are used for higher values.
In China during the Han dynasty promissory notes were made of leather. Rome may have used a durable lightweight substance as promissory notes in 57 AD which have been found in London. However, Carthage was purported to have issued bank notes on parchment or leather before 146 BC. Hence Carthage may be the oldest user of lightweight promissory notes; the first known banknote was first developed in China during the Tang and Song dynasties, starting in the 7th century. Its roots were in merchant receipts of deposit during the Tang dynasty, as merchants and wholesalers desired to avoid the heavy bulk of copper coinage in large commercial transactions. During the Yuan dynasty, banknotes were adopted by the Mongol Empire. In Europe, the concept of banknotes was first introduced during the 13th century by travelers such as Marco Polo, with European banknotes appearing in 1661 in Sweden. Counterfeiting, the forgery of banknotes, is an inherent challenge in issuing currency, it is countered by anticounterfeiting measures in the printing of banknotes.
Fighting the counterfeiting of banknotes and cheques has been a principal driver of security printing methods development in recent centuries. Paper currency first developed in Tang dynasty China during the 7th century, although true paper money did not appear until the 11th century, during the Song dynasty; the usage of paper currency spread throughout the Mongol Empire or Yuan dynasty China. European explorers like Marco Polo introduced the concept in Europe during the 13th century. Napoleon issued paper banknotes in the early 1800s. Cash paper money originated as receipts for value held on account "value received", should not be conflated with promissory "sight bills" which were issued with a promise to convert at a date; the perception of banknotes as money has evolved over time. Money was based on precious metals. Banknotes were seen by some as an I. O. U. or promissory note: a promise to pay someone in precious metal on presentation, but were accepted - for convenience and security - in the City of London for example from the late 1600s onwards.
With the removal of precious metals from the monetary system, banknotes evolved into pure fiat money. Development of the banknote began in the Tang dynasty during the 7th century, with local issues of paper currency, although true paper money did not appear until the 11th century, during the Song dynasty, its roots were in merchant receipts of deposit during the Tang Dynasty, as merchants and wholesalers desired to avoid the heavy bulk of copper coinage in large commercial transactions. Before the use of paper, the Chinese used coins that were circular, with a rectangular hole in the middle. Several coins could be strung together on a rope. Merchants in China, if they became rich enough, found that their strings of coins were too heavy to carry around easily. To solve this problem, coins were left with a trustworthy person, the merchant was given a slip of paper recording how much money they had with that person. If they showed the paper to that person, they could regain their money; the Song Dynasty paper money called "jiaozi" originated from these promissory notes.
By 960 the Song dynasty, short of copper for striking coins, issued the first circulating notes. A note is a promise to redeem for some other object of value specie; the issue of credit notes is for a limited duration, at some discount to the promised amount later. The jiaozi did not replace coins during the Song Dynasty; the central government soon observed the economic advantages of printing paper money, issuing a monopoly right of several of the deposit shops to the issuance of these certificates of deposit. By the early 12th century, the amount of banknotes issued in a single year amounted to an annual rate of 26 million strings of cash coins. By the 1120s the central government stepped in and produced their own state-issued paper money. Before this point, the Song government was amassing large amounts of paper tribute, it was recorded that each year before 1101 AD, the prefecture of Xin'an alone would send 1,500,000 sheets of paper in seven different varieties to the capital at Kaifeng. In that year of 1101, the Emperor Huizong of Song decided to lessen the amount of paper taken in the tribute quota, because it was causing detrimental effects and creating heavy burdens on the people of the regio
A currency, in the most specific sense is money in any form when in use or circulation as a medium of exchange circulating banknotes and coins. A more general definition is that a currency is a system of money in common use for people in a nation. Under this definition, US dollars, pounds sterling, Australian dollars, European euros, Russian rubles and Indian Rupees are examples of currency; these various currencies are recognized as stores of value and are traded between nations in foreign exchange markets, which determine the relative values of the different currencies. Currencies in this sense are defined by governments, each type has limited boundaries of acceptance. Other definitions of the term "currency" are discussed in their respective synonymous articles banknote and money; the latter definition, pertaining to the currency systems of nations, is the topic of this article. Currencies can be classified into two monetary systems: fiat money and commodity money, depending on what guarantees the currency's value.
Some currencies are legal tender in certain political jurisdictions. Others are traded for their economic value. Digital currency has arisen with the popularity of the Internet. Money was a form of receipt, representing grain stored in temple granaries in Sumer in ancient Mesopotamia and in Ancient Egypt. In this first stage of currency, metals were used as symbols to represent value stored in the form of commodities; this formed the basis of trade in the Fertile Crescent for over 1500 years. However, the collapse of the Near Eastern trading system pointed to a flaw: in an era where there was no place, safe to store value, the value of a circulating medium could only be as sound as the forces that defended that store. A trade could only reach as far as the credibility of that military. By the late Bronze Age, however, a series of treaties had established safe passage for merchants around the Eastern Mediterranean, spreading from Minoan Crete and Mycenae in the northwest to Elam and Bahrain in the southeast.
It is not known what was used as a currency for these exchanges, but it is thought that ox-hide shaped ingots of copper, produced in Cyprus, may have functioned as a currency. It is thought that the increase in piracy and raiding associated with the Bronze Age collapse produced by the Peoples of the Sea, brought the trading system of oxhide ingots to an end, it was only the recovery of Phoenician trade in the 10th and 9th centuries BC that led to a return to prosperity, the appearance of real coinage first in Anatolia with Croesus of Lydia and subsequently with the Greeks and Persians. In Africa, many forms of value store have been used, including beads, ivory, various forms of weapons, the manilla currency, ochre and other earth oxides; the manilla rings of West Africa were one of the currencies used from the 15th century onwards to sell slaves. African currency is still notable for its variety, in many places, various forms of barter still apply; these factors led to the metal itself being the store of value: first silver both silver and gold, at one point bronze.
Now we have other non-precious metals as coins. Metals were mined and stamped into coins; this was to assure the individual accepting the coin that he was getting a certain known weight of precious metal. Coins could be counterfeited, but the existence of standard coins created a new unit of account, which helped lead to banking. Archimedes' principle provided the next link: coins could now be tested for their fine weight of metal, thus the value of a coin could be determined if it had been shaved, debased or otherwise tampered with. Most major economies using coinage had several tiers of coins of different values, made of copper and gold. Gold coins were the most valuable and were used for large purchases, payment of the military and backing of state activities. Units of account were defined as the value of a particular type of gold coin. Silver coins were used for midsized transactions, sometimes defined a unit of account, while coins of copper or silver, or some mixture of them, might be used for everyday transactions.
This system had been used in ancient India since the time of the Mahajanapadas. The exact ratios between the values of the three metals varied between different eras and places. However, the rarity of gold made it more valuable than silver, silver was worth more than copper. In premodern China, the need for credit and for a medium of exchange, less physically cumbersome than large numbers of copper coins led to the introduction of paper money, i.e. banknotes. Their introduction was a gradual process which lasted from the late Tang dynasty into the Song dynasty, it began as a means for merchants to exchange heavy coinage for receipts of deposit issued as promissory notes by wholesalers' shops. These notes were valid for temporary use in a small regional territory. In the 10th century, the Song dynasty government began to circulate these notes amongst the traders in its monopolized salt industry; the Song government granted several shops the right to issue banknotes, in the early 12th century the government took over these shops to produce state-issued currency.
Yet the banknotes issued w