From Parmesan to beer: the coins you don't expect

Anonim

A salty account. Before the arrival of the coins it was paid in kind, it is one of the first notions that are learned during the hours of history, in elementary school. Less well known is the fact that various foods have been used as a bargaining chip up to the present day. For example, salt.

At the time of the Roman legionaries could be paid in "salt". which also explains the origin of the word salary, which derives from "salarium", which the Romans translated as "salt ration." The custom of paying with salt was in vogue even in ancient China; Middle Ages, salt was the main form of currency In more recent times salt was used as a currency in the remote tribes of Ethiopia, due to a sort of tradition: already in the XVI century, visiting the African country, European explorers noticed the use of white grains as money The salt bars used to pay were called "amole" after the Amole tribe had introduced its use.

How much Parmesan is worth? The history of parmesan cheese. Among the Italian news that struck the New York Times in 2009, there was also one on the use of Parmigiano Reggiano as a "currency" or better as a "guarantee". "The bank (Credito Emiliano, ed) - the most read newspaper in the USA wrote - accepts parmesan as a guarantee for loans, helping to finance cheese producers in Northern Italy during the worst recession since World War II. The two warehouses controlled by the Credito Emiliano have approximately 440, 000 forms worth 132 million euros, or 187.5 million dollars ".

I pay you with tea. Blocks (or "bricks") of tea have been used for centuries instead of coins in China, Siberia, Tibet, Turkmenistan, Russia and Mongolia, where the use of tea as a currency has lasted until about the second world war. The Chinese emperor had a monopoly on tea production as a means of payment. The best quality tea was dark brown and contained only fermented tea leaves. The poorest quality bricks were dark yellow and contained branches, shavings and soot.

Making tea bricks was not easy and required several steps: drying, cooking and adding beef, dirt or flour blood as binders. Finally, before being used, the brick was focused and aged.

Golden yellow or beer yellow? In ancient Egypt, beer was used as a currency to pay for slaves, traders, priests and public officials: the standard basic salary consisted of ten pieces of bread and a share of beer, which ranged from a third of a pitcher to two pitchers. full (per day). A practice that has been useful to the inhabitants of Angola at the end of the 1980s, when they found themselves forced to use beer as a currency in a period of hyper-inflation. State workers used government vouchers to buy foreign beer, which they sold on the black market until they earned the money to buy a plane ticket. The devaluation ended in 1999 and today Angola is the second largest oil producer in Africa and the third largest economy, but it is still recovering from the 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.

The taste of freedom. In 2011 there was an unexpected boom in the demand for fresh fruit in British youth prisons. The reason? The prisoners have come to use fruit as a bargaining chip, not without clashes and frictions, due to the poor quality food that was provided to them by the prison administration.

Money in smoke. In 1612 John Rolfe (yes indeed, Pocahontas' husband) had the merit of understanding that tobacco could be successfully cultivated in Virginia, one of the first European colonies in North America. Cultivated everywhere with excellent yields, it was sold profitably in England. In a short time tobacco became the mainstay of the state's economy to the point that when gold and silver became scarce, the Chesapeake colonies began to use tobacco as a means of currency, giving rise to a long-lasting custom: cigarettes were used as currency in almost all the wars from the 1700s to today.

See cocoa, give turkey. In the list of edible coins certainly could not miss the cocoa. In 1545, the exchange value of cocoa for various products among the Aztecs, in southern Mexico, was as follows: 1 turkey = 100 cocoa beans; 1 turkey egg = 3 cocoa beans; 1 fully ripe avocado = 1 cocoa bean; 1 large tomato = 1 cocoa bean. We know this thanks to the Codex Mendoza (1541), preserved in the Bodleian Library of Oxford University.

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At the time of the Roman legionaries could be paid in "salt". which also explains the origin of the word salary, which derives from "salarium", which the Romans translated as "salt ration." The custom of paying with salt was in vogue even in ancient China; Middle Ages, salt was the main form of currency In more recent times salt was used as a currency in the remote tribes of Ethiopia, due to a sort of tradition: already in the XVI century, visiting the African country, European explorers noticed the use of white grains as money The salt bars used to pay were called "amole" after the Amole tribe had introduced its use.