Pound (currency)

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The pound is a unit of currency in some nations. The term originated in the Frankish Empire as a result of Charlemagne's currency reform ("pound" from Latin pondus, a unity of weight) and was subsequently taken to Great Britain as the value of a pound (weight) of silver.[1]

The English word pound is cognate with, among others, German Pfund, Dutch pond, and Swedish pund. All ultimately derive from a borrowing into Proto-Germanic of the Latin expression lībra pondō ("a pound by weight"), in which the word pondō is the ablative case of the Latin noun pondus ("weight"). The English word "pound" first referred to a unit of mass or weight; the monetary pound originated as a pound (by weight) of silver.[2]

The currency's symbol is £, a stylised representation of the letter L, standing for libra (Latin: "pound"). Historically, £1 worth of silver coins were a troy pound in weight; in August 2016 this amount of silver was worth approximately £170 sterling.

Today, the term may refer to the English name of a number of (primarily British and related) currencies and a variety of obsolete currencies. Some of them, those official in former Italian states[citation needed] and in countries formerly belonging to the Ottoman Empire, are called pound in English, while in the local languages their official name is lira.

= Countries currently using pound s as their currency[edit]

Currency ISO 4217 code Tied to
£ sterling?
 United Kingdom Pound sterling GBP
 Egypt Egyptian pound EGP No
 Lebanon Lebanese pound LBP No
 South Sudan South Sudanese pound SSP No
 Sudan Sudanese pound SDG No
 Syria Syrian pound SYP No
 Isle of Man Manx pound IMP* Yes
 Jersey Jersey pound JEP* Yes
 Guernsey Guernsey pound GGP* Yes
Gibraltar Gibraltar Gibraltar pound GIP Yes
 Saint Helena Saint Helena pound . Yes
 Ascension Island
 Tristan da Cunha
 Falkland Islands Falkland Islands pound Yes

*unofficial code

Countries where the official English name of the currency is "pound"

The pound sterling is also the currency of the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory[3] and British Indian Ocean Territory.[4][5]

Historical currencies[edit]

Currencies of the former British colonies in America[edit]

All of the following currencies have been replaced by the US dollar.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, entry "pound"
  3. ^ "Foreign and Commonwealth Office country profiles: British Antarctic Territory". Archived from the original on 2003-09-02.
  4. ^ Foreign and Commonwealth Office country profiles: South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  5. ^ [1] Foreign and Commonwealth Office country profiles: British Indian Ocean Territory Archived October 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.