Pound (currency)

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

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 unit 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 an adverb meaning "by weight" and related to the 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 and territories currently using currencies called pounds[edit]

Country/Territory Currency ISO 4217 code Tied to pound sterling?
 Egypt Egyptian pound EGP No
 Falkland Islands Falkland Islands pound FKP Yes
Gibraltar Gibraltar Gibraltar pound GIP Yes
 Guernsey Guernsey pound GGP[3] Yes
 Isle of Man Manx pound IMP[3] Yes
 Jersey Jersey pound JEP[3] Yes
 Lebanon Lebanese pound LBP No
 Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Helena pound SHP Yes
 South Sudan South Sudanese pound SSP No
 Sudan Sudanese pound SDG No
 Syria Syrian pound SYP No
 United Kingdom Pound sterling GBP N/A
 British Antarctic Territory[4]
 British Indian Ocean Territory[5][6]
 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

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All of the following currencies have been replaced by the US dollar.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. ^ a b c Unofficial code
  4. ^ "Foreign and Commonwealth Office country profiles: British Antarctic Territory". Archived from the original on 2003-09-02. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ Foreign and Commonwealth Office country profiles: South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  6. ^ [1] Foreign and Commonwealth Office country profiles: British Indian Ocean Territory Archived October 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine