5. Talley Sticks

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Length {4:55 minutes}

The tally stick system, introduced by King Henry I of England around 1100 AD, was a unique monetary system designed to bypass the manipulative practices of goldsmiths. These tally sticks, made from polished wood with notches to denote denominations, were split lengthwise, with one half kept by the king to prevent counterfeiting. The other half was used as currency, widely accepted due to its mandated use for paying royal taxes.

This system endured for 726 years until 1826, significantly contributing to the British Empire’s growth.

Despite constant opposition from money changers promoting metal coins, tally sticks remained effective for tax payments.

The system eventually faced challenges in the 1500s when usury laws were relaxed and reinstated, leading to economic fluctuations influenced by the availability of gold and silver coins.

The tally stick system’s decline coincided with major political upheavals and the eventual establishment of the Bank of England, which sought to centralize financial power.

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