The Birthplace of the Dollar

Not many people know this, but the “dollar” (and lager beer, but that’s another story) had it’s origins in the lands of what is now the Czech Republic. The word “dollar” is actually from the German word “taler.” The taler was the official currency in the Holy Roman Empire from the mid-16th century until the mid-19th century, and spread throughout the world, getting adopted as currency as far as Arab lands.

The word “taler” was a shortened form of the name of a Bohemian town, Joachimsthal, where great veins of silver were discovered in the 15th or 16th century. Joachimsthal (now Jachymov) was the main source of the silver coin, “thaler,” later “taler.” Of course, many years later, the name was adopted as the “dollar.” (Try it yourself: say it out loud.)

Much later, Jachymov was also found to have some naturally-occurring radium below ground, which, combined with hot springs in the area, helped make it a spa town, where people would “take the waters” to cure common ailments. The town is still a spa town, but there’s no focus on radioactive cures anymore…but the water is still hot!