Where did the word "dollar" come from?

See http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_180.html

This results in three more questions

  1. Why did the Dutch drop the dollar in favour of the guilder or floren.

  2. Why did Canada adopt the dollar rather than the quid or pound

3, Ditto for Australia

In our case, we moved from the pound to decimal currency in 1966. Keeping the name was out of the question as too confusing, but we did come within a whisker of having to spend a Royal, being the then-PM’s homage to HM.

Having considered such options as the Eureka, the Roo, and the Royal, the Dollar was much the most popular choice. IIRC at the time the US Dollar was not the only one around anyway, Singapore at least had a Dollar too.

On preview I see that **Askance ** has already noted all of this:

This link to the website of the Reserve Bank of Australia suggests that it was a close run thing in Australia between the names “dollar” and “royal” for the new, decimalised currency.

Ah yes, the “Austral”, how could I have forgotten that little horror?

Back to the OP:

  1. note that Cecil never says the Dutch used the dollar as a currency, just that “daler” was their word for “thaler”; Wiki says “The German name “thaler” (pronounced “tah-ler” — and “dahler” in Low German) became dollar in French and English”. They never used “dollar” for their currency, perhaps due to having fought vicious wars to eject the Spanish from their lands. They’ve used “gulden” (golden) since the 15th century.

  2. Wikipedia says that Canada adopted “dollar” for the same reasons the US did - the Spanish dollar was the closest thing to a world currency there was at the time, so it was natural to transfer the name to the new currency while dropping the “Spanish”. They used a mixture of the British pound and Spanish dollar, and happened to end up on “dollar” rather than “pound”.

  3. To expand on my previous answer, Australia did use pound from 1910 til 1966, they used the British pound before that.

As Askance explained, the Dutch never had Daler as their currency, but it was a fairly common coin at the time, and people generally didn’t worry so much about coins being foreign, as long as they trusted the silver content. In many countries the foreign coins were probably more reliable.

But although the Dutch didn’t mint Daler, the Scandinavian countries did, Danish-Norwegian and Swedish Daler were the currencies of those countries from the mid 1500s until it was replaced with kroner by the Scandinavian coinage union in 1873.

Before 1966, in Australian slang “dollar” meant five shillings. (The Standard English name for a coin of that denomination was “crown”, and Australia had had commemorative crown coins, but in the normal coinage of those days, a “dollar” woiuld have been paid with two florins and one shilling.) Apart from borrowing American terminology, that was the biggest argument against adopting the term “dollar” for the ten-shilling unit of currency, i.e., two of the old dollars. But that old meaning of the word “dollar” went out of usage pretty well immediately with the introduction of dismal guernsey.

The five-shilling “dollar” was also known in the UK. I wonder if that was one reason for going with 100 New Pence to the Pound instead putting 100 old Pence to a UK Dollar, which would have been somewhat simpler to manage. (1d was pretty close to 1¢ at the time.)