How did money appear, what is its history and how much was the first ruble worth?
“Money is freedom forged from gold,” said Erich Maria Remarque in the first half of the last century. No matter what they say, but money was, is and will remain "freedom" for every person.
But even a few millennia ago, the world knew nothing about money. People simply exchanged what they produced. Blacksmiths - with arrowheads, knives and axes, farmers - with grain, wine and oil, cattle breeders - with animals, wool, milk and leather, warriors - captured slaves.
Of course, such an exchange was extremely inconvenient. How to divide a bull into jugs or swords? And why should a cattle breeder have so many swords and jugs, and a potter and a blacksmith - a whole bull at once? How do you know which is more expensive: one pants, two axes or four jugs?
Most often, skins, furs and cattle served as "money". But all these were too large "banknotes", very inconvenient, and also "perishable".
Small changeable units were needed that would not reduce their value, no matter how they were divided. Therefore, one of the first money can be considered cowrie shells, which were mined in the southern seas. The shells were drilled and put on a string like beads. True, the cost of such "money" was very small. Thousands of shells had to be counted for one bull. This is how metal money came into being. Coins could be minted of any value: from copper - cheaper, from silver - more expensive, and from gold - the most expensive.
However, this approach turned out to be not so convenient: metal money is heavy and takes up a lot of space, and it is also not easy to hide it, so the likelihood of robbery is high. Our ancestors came up with the following: they transferred gold for storage to the bank, and instead of it they took (for example, on the road with them) paper receipts certifying that they had this gold. These pieces of paper were the first paper money in the world - it was written on them how much gold they were stored in the bank.
In Russia, in addition to the aforementioned skins, salt ingots were also used as money, and only then silver ingots. There are many versions of the origin of the word "ruble". They disagree in details, but agree on one thing: the verb “to cut” is the one-root “ruble”. The etymological dictionary of Max Vasmer reports that initially the word "ruble" meant a stump, a plug, but already since 1316, the term "ruble" has been found in written sources as "the name of a monetary unit instead of a hryvnia (monetary and weight unit of Ancient Russia and some other states of Eastern Europe; the first weight unit mentioned in the ancient Russian chronicles; comes from the neck decoration "grivna", often made of silver or gold - NS) which in Novgorod weighed 196 grams in ingots. From chopping, that is, "stump of the hryvnia" ".
There is, however, a version that the word “ruble” is cognate with the word “rupee” and comes from the ancient Indian rupiam, which means “processed silver”.
Other researchers believe that the ruble was not equal to the whole hryvnia (about 200 grams of silver) and not half of it, but only a quarter. So, for example, the Russian historian Ivan Kondratyev in his book "The gray old man of Moscow" writes: "Rubles were parts of the hryvnia or pieces of silver with notches that signified their weight. Each hryvnia was divided into four parts; the name of the ruble came from the word “cut”, because a rod of silver into a hryvnia was cut into four parts by weight, which were called rubles”.
By 1534, 1 Moscow ruble became equal to 200 Moscow money or 100 Novgorod money, which were called "kopeck". But the first ruble coin, where its denomination was indicated - "ruble", was minted only in 1654 during the monetary reform of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich.However, it was in circulation for no more than a year, since the content of silver in the coin was less than one hundred kopecks (in fact, the new ruble was equal to 64 kopecks). The minting of ruble coins was resumed only in 1704 under Peter I and has practically not been interrupted to this day. The first paper rubles appeared in Russia in 1769. At the same time, from 1769 to 1849, there were two "types" of paper rubles, which differed in cost: rubles in silver and rubles in banknotes. In 1897, the gold standard was introduced, and the gold ruble (0, 774235 grams of gold) became the main currency. This standard existed until 1914.
After the monetary reform of 1961, the Soviet ruble became equal to 0.987412 grams of gold, but Soviet citizens, as you know, could not exchange rubles for gold: the gold equivalent was used to form the official exchange rates for foreign currencies. But today the ruble has no gold equivalent.