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The dollar is the name of the official currency in several countries, dependencies and other regions, including Australia, Canada, the East Caribbean, Liberia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States. It is represented by the symbol $, placed before the dollar amount (in French Canada, after).

The dollar was also in use in Scotland during the 17th century, and there is a claim that it was invented at the University of St Andrews.

The name is related to the historic currencies Tolar, in Bohemia, Thaler, in Germany and Daler, in Sweden. The name thaler (from thal, valley) originally came from the guldengroschen (great gulden, being of silver but equal in value to a gold gulden) coins minted from the silver from a rich mine at St. Joachimstal (St. Joachim's Valley) in Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic). The name Spanish dollar was used for a Spanish silver coin, the peso, an 8 real coin, which was widely circulated during the 18th century in the Spanish colonies in the New World. The use of the Spanish dollar and the Maria Theresa thaler as legal tender for the early United States is the reason for the name of that nation's currency. The word dollar was in use in the English language for the thaler for about 200 years prior to the American Revolution. Spanish dollars, or pieces of eight as they were called, were in circulation in the 13 colonies that became the United States and legal tender in Virginia.

The dollar symbol

The origin of the "$" sign has been variously accounted for. Perhaps the most widely accepted explanation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, is that it is the result of the evolution of the Mexican or Spanish "P's" for pesos, or piastres, or pieces of eight. This theory, derived from a study of old manuscripts, explains that the "S," gradually came to be written over the "P," developing a close equivalent to the "$" mark. It was widely used before the adoption of the United States dollar in 1785.

The dollar symbol is the only currency mark defined in the 7-bit ASCII computer character set. Other character sets contain other currency signs in addition to the dollar.

See also:

Petro-dollars is money from petroleum.

Dollar were a light pop duo from the UK, who had a series of hit records in the late 1970s. They were David Van Day and Theresa Bazar.