History Today subscription

Europe's National Currencies

Jonathan Williams and Andrew Meadows review the history of the various currencies that were replaced by the Euro.

Greek Drachma coinsFor Frank, Mark, Drachma, Lira... read Euro. On October 28th,1971, a motion carried in the House of Commons launched Britain into its turbulent membership of the European Economic Community, or the Common Market as it was often called. Amid the acrimonious debate that had preceded the vote, the Bank of England had begun the issue of a new £5 note. On the back was featured the Duke of Wellington and a vignette of English soldiers fighting the French. The new note may not have been directly inspired by the events of the day. Nevertheless, currency and its designs can be revealing symbols of national aspirations. As tangible, everyday objects coins and banknotes also act like no other medium to separate the citizens of one state from those of another. The French are not the only nation that speaks French, but they have been the only one in Europe to use the French franc.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email digital@historytoday.com if you have any problems.



Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week