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Guilder is the English translation of the Dutch and German gulden, originally shortened from Middle High German guldin pfenninc "gold penny". This was the term that became current in the southern and western parts of the Holy Roman Empire for the Fiorino d'oro (introduced 1252). Hence, the name has often been interchangeable with florin (currency sign ƒ or ƒl.).
English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.
German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.
The term gulden was used in the Holy Roman Empire during the 14th to 16th centuries in generic reference to gold coins. Currency became more standardized with the imperial reform of 1559. In the early modern period, the value of a gulden was expressed in standardized form (Rechnungsgulden), and in some instances, silver coins were minted designed to have the value corresponding to one gulden. The Rhenish gulden (florenus Rheni) was issued by Trier, Cologne and Mainz in the 14th and 15th centuries. Basel minted its own Apfelgulden between 1429 and 1509. Bern and Solothurn followed in the 1480s, Fribourg in 1509 and Zürich in 1510, and other towns in the 17th century, resulting in a fragmented system of local currencies in the early modern Switzerland.
A gold coin is a coin that is made mostly or entirely of gold. Most gold coins minted since 1800 are 90–92% gold, while most of today's gold bullion coins are pure gold, such as the Britannia, Canadian Maple Leaf, and American Buffalo. Alloyed gold coins, like the American Gold Eagle and South African Krugerrand, are typically 91.7% gold by weight, with the remainder being silver and copper.
The early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages of the post-classical era. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the post-classical age, known as the Middle Ages, through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions and is variously demarcated by historians as beginning with the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, with the Renaissance period, and with the Age of Discovery, and ending around the French Revolution in 1789.
Silver coins are possibly the oldest mass-produced form of coinage. Silver has been used as a coinage metal since the times of the Greeks; their silver drachmas were popular trade coins. The ancient Persians used silver coins between 612-330 BC. Before 1797, British pennies were made of silver.
With increasingly standardized currencies in the early modern period, gulden or guilder became a term for various early modern and modern currencies, detached from actual gold coins, in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Netherlands Indies gulden was introduced in 1602, at the start of the United East Indies Company. The Dutch guilder originated in 1680 as a 10.61 g (0.374 oz) silver coin with a silver purity of 91.0%, minted by the States of Holland and West Friesland.
The gulden was the unit of account of the Dutch East Indies from 1602 under the United East India Company, following Dutch practice first adopted in the 15th century. A variety of Dutch, Spanish and Asian coins were in official and common usage. After the collapse of the VOC at the end of the 18th century, control of the islands reverted to the Dutch government, which issued silver 'Netherlands Indies' gulden and fractional silver and copper coins until Indonesian independence in 1948.
The Dutch guilder or fl. was the currency of the Netherlands from the 17th century until 2002, when it was replaced by the euro. Between 1999 and 2002, the guilder was officially a "national subunit" of the euro. However, physical payments could only be made in guilder, as no euro coins or banknotes were available. The Netherlands Antillean guilder is still in use in Curaçao and Sint Maarten, but this currency is distinct from the Dutch guilder. In 2004, the Surinamese guilder was replaced by the Surinamese dollar.
The States of Holland and West Frisia were the representation of the two Estates (standen) to the court of the Count of Holland. After the United Provinces were formed — and there no longer was a count, but only his "lieutenant" — they continued to function as the government of the County of Holland.
The British Guianan guilder was in use in British Guiana, 1796 to 1839.
The guilder was the currency of British Guiana between 1796 and 1839.
In 1753, Bavaria and Austria-Hungary agreed to use the same conventions. The result was the Austro-Hungarian gulden (Austrian Empire 1754 to 1892), and the Bavarian gulden (1754 to 1873, see also Baden gulden, Württemberg gulden, South German gulden).
Bavaria, officially the Free State of Bavaria, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, occupying its southeastern corner. With an area of 70,550.19 square kilometres, Bavaria is the largest German state by land area comprising roughly a fifth of the total land area of Germany. With 13 million inhabitants, it is Germany's second-most-populous state after North Rhine-Westphalia. Bavaria's main cities are Munich and Nuremberg.
Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy in Central and Eastern Europe between 1867 and 1918. It was formed when the Austrian Empire adopted a new constitution; as a result Austria (Cisleithania) and Hungary (Transleithania) were placed on equal footing. It dissolved into several new states at the end of the First World War.
The Gulden or forint was the currency of the lands of the House of Habsburg between 1754 and 1892, when it was replaced by the Krone/korona as part of the introduction of the gold standard. In Austria, the Gulden was initially divided into 60 Kreuzer, and in Hungary, the forint was divided into 60 krajczár. The currency was decimalized in 1857, using the same names for the unit and subunit.
A Danzig gulden was in use 1923 to 1939.
The Dutch guilder remained the national currency of the Netherlands until it was replaced by the euro on 1 January 2002. The Netherlands Antillean guilder is currently the only guilder in use, which after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles remained the currency of the new countries Curaçao and Sint Maarten and (until 1 January 2011) the Caribbean Netherlands.
The euro is the official currency of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union. This group of states is known as the eurozone or euro area, and counts about 343 million citizens as of 2019. The euro is the second largest and second most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar. The euro is divided into 100 cents.
The Netherlands Antillean guilder is the currency of Curaçao and Sint Maarten, which until 2010 formed the Netherlands Antilles along with Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius. It is subdivided into 100 cents. The guilder was replaced by the United States dollar on 1 January 2011 on Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius. On Curaçao and Sint Maarten, the Netherlands Antillean guilder was proposed to be replaced by a new currency, the Caribbean guilder, but this has been stalled indefinitely by negotiations over the establishment of a separate central bank for Curaçao.
The Netherlands Antilles was an autonomous Caribbean country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It was dissolved on 10 October 2010.
The Caribbean guilder is a proposed currency for Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
Other coin names that are derived from the gold of which they were once made:
The thaler was a silver coin used throughout Europe for almost four hundred years. Its name lives on in the many currencies called dollar and the Samoan tālā, and, until recently, also in the Slovenian tolar.
The Florentine florin was a coin struck from 1252 to 1533 with no significant change in its design or metal content standard during that time. It had 54 grains of nominally pure or 'fine' gold with a purchasing power difficult to estimate but ranging according to social grouping and perspective from approximately 140 to 1000 modern US dollars. The name of the coin comes from the flower of the Giglio bottonato, which is represented at the head of the coin.
The Latin Monetary Union (LMU) was a 19th-century system that unified several European currencies into a single currency that could be used in all the member states, at a time when most national currencies were still made out of gold and silver. It was established in 1865 and disbanded in 1927. Many countries minted coins according to the LMU standard even though they did not formally accede to the LMU treaty.
The ducat was a gold or silver coin used as a trade coin in Europe from the later Middle Ages until as late as the 20th century. Many types of ducats had various metallic content and purchasing power throughout the period. The gold ducat of Venice gained wide international acceptance, like the medieval Byzantine hyperpyron and the Florentine florin, or the modern British Pound sterling and the United States dollar.
The Kreuzer, in English usually kreutzer, was a silver coin and unit of currency existing in the southern German states prior to the unification of Germany, and in Austria. After 1760 it was made of copper.
The rijksdaalder was a Dutch coin first issued by the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands in the late 16th century during the Dutch Revolt. Featuring an armored half bust of William the Silent, rijksdaalder was minted to the Saxon reichsthaler weight standard – 448 grains of .885 fine silver. Friesland, Gelderland, Holland, Kampen, Overijssel, Utrecht, West Friesland, Zeeland, and Zwolle minted armored half bust rijksdaalders until the end of the 17th century.
The Gulden was the currency of the states of southern Germany between 1754 and 1873. These states included Bavaria, Baden, Württemberg, Frankfurt and Hohenzollern. This specific Gulden was based on the Gulden or florin used in the Holy Roman Empire during the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern period.
The guilder was the currency of Suriname until 2004, when it was replaced by the Surinamese dollar. It was divided into 100 cents. Until the 1940s, the plural in Dutch was cents, with centen appearing on some early paper money, but after the 1940s the Dutch plural became cent.
The pataca was a monetary unit of account used in Portuguese Timor between 1894 and 1958, except for the period 1942–1945, when the occupying Japanese forces introduced the Netherlands Indies gulden and the roepiah. As in the case of the Macanese pataca which is still in use today, the East Timor unit was based on the silver Mexican dollar coins which were prolific in the wider region in the 19th century. These Mexican dollar coins were in turn the lineal descendants of the Spanish pieces of eight which had been introduced to the region by the Portuguese through Portuguese Malacca, and by the Spanish through the Manila Galleon trade.
The history of coins in the area that is now Romania spans over a 2500-year period; coins were first introduced in significant numbers to this area by the Greeks, through their colonies on the Black Sea shore.
The Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten is the central bank for the Netherlands Antillean guilder and administers the monetary policy of Curaçao and Sint Maarten. The bank dates to 1828 making it the oldest central bank in the Americas.
The florin was a former coin of the Republic of Florence.
The Caribbean guilder is the proposed currency of the Caribbean islands, and constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, which formed after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on October 10, 2010. As of January 2018, the Caribbean guilder has not been introduced.
Rhenish guilder is the name of the golden, base currency coin of the Rhineland in the 14th and 15th centuries. Most were about the size of a modern US dime and weighed between 3.4 and 3.8 grams.