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WHAT did people use before money as we know it today? Cattle is probably the oldest of all forms of money. Cattle as money dates back to 9000 BC. Some cattle were still used as money in parts of Africa in the middle of the 20th Century.

WE'VE all heard of the Bank of England. Is it the oldest in Britain? Yes. Sometimes known as the "Old Lady" of Threadneedle Street, the Bank was founded in 1694, nationalised in 1946, and gained independence in 1997. It now stands at the centre of the UK's financial system. WHAT about in Britain? How did banking get started? King Charles I is credited with creating a need for a banking system in 1640 when he took gold bullion that rich merchants had stored in the Tower of London to pay his soldiers. HOW could Charles I helping himself to the gold spark the need for banks?

As the merchants could no longer store their money at the Tower of London and they didn't trust their servants, they were forced to employ bankers to keep their stashes safe. WHO were these first bankers? They were known as goldsmiths. Before this time, goldsmiths bought and sold coins, procured gold to be coined at the mint and supplied precious metals. Goldsmiths then become the bankers of those who had money for which they had no immediate use. WHAT other goods were used as currency in the olden days? Before the days of paper money, Americans traded animal skins, including deer and elk bucks, for goods and services, hence the word "buck" to describe money. American Indians used to carry around strings of clam shells to use as money, which they called wampum.

WHEN did money start to be traded instead of goods? One of the oldest items found showing money-changing activity is a silver Greek coin from the ancient Hellenic colony Trapezus, from 350-325 BC. WOW, that's a long time ago. Where is the coin now? The priceless artefact is presented in the British Museum in London. The coin shows a banker's table (trapeza) laden with coins. SO how did money develop from there? Coins with their value imprinted on them were first produced in Lydia (present day Turkey) around 650 BC. The Chinese invented and briefly used paper currency, but the first consistent use of paper money was by the French in the 18th Century. WHERE is the world's oldest official bank? The oldest bank still in existence is Monte dei Paschi di Siena, headquartered in Siena, Italy, which has been operating continuously since 1472. The bank was founded by the magistrate of the city state of Siena. Today it has approximately 4.5 million customers in Italy.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 7, 2013
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