Currency Policy and Currency Unions

Currency Policy - Decimal Footing : Russia since 1755, France since 1795, Naples (resp. the Kingdom of Two Sicilies) since 1813, Parma since 1814, Lombardy-Venetia since 1815, Savoy-Piemont-Sardinia since 1815, Lucca since 1817 (in case of these Italian states, they continue the currency tradition of the Napoleonic period), Tuscany since 1825, Belgium since 1830, Greece since 1832 (upon independence), Portugal since 1835, Spain since 1847, Switzerland since 1848-1850, Netherlands since 1854, Norway, Sweden since 1855, the Zollverein since 1857, Finland since 1860, Italy since 1861 (with unification), Romania in 1861 (with autonomy), the Papal State since 1866, Serbia since 1868, Germany since 1871 (with unification), Denmark since 1873, the Ottoman Empire since 1881, Austria in 1892

Currency Unions : Zollverein
Latin Currency Union (1865-1927) (Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland), Spain joined in 1868, Greece joined in 1868 (left in 1885), Austria associated in 1870.
Scandinavian Currency Union 1872-1924 (Denmark, Sweden, Norway)

The growth of Europe's industries and railway network resulted in the economies of the European countries becoming more dependent on international trade. Currency policies of the period intended to facilitate international trade by standardization - decimal footing everywhere, the number of actual currencies drastically reduced by the establishment of parity of numerous currencies. For example, Denmark, Sweden and Norway minted their own coins (all called Krona), but, until 1914, the Danish Krones were accepted as payment in Sweden and vice versa. Similarly, the French Franc was accepted in Belgium, Switzerland, Greece or Spain.
Actually, Switzerland should be added to this list of currency unions, as, until 1848, every indiviadual canton had the right to issue their own money, and Switzerland had a varietiy of currencies.

Bryan Taylor, a Global History of Currencies, see entries for the various European countries
REFERENCE Chester L. Krause e.a. (ed.), Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801-1900, 3rd edition, Krause 2001

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on November 1st 2003, last revised on November 16th 2004

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