Definitions for ECUeɪˈku or, sometimes, ˈiˈsiˈyu
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word ECU
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
ECUeɪˈku or, sometimes, ˈiˈsiˈyu(n.)(pl.)ECU's, ECUs.
a monetary unit of account of the European Economic Community: replaced by the euro on January 1, 1999.
Category: Numismatics, Business
Origin of ECU:
E(uropean)C(urrency)U(nit), perh. with play on écu
The European Currency Unit (symbol u20A0), a currency used in the European Community before the euro.
The term écu may refer to one of several French coins. The first écu was a gold coin minted during the reign of Louis IX of France, in 1266. Ecu means shield, and the coin was so called because its design included a shield bearing a coat of arms. The word is related to scudo and escudo. The value of the écu varied considerably over time, and silver coins were also introduced. When Louis IX took office, France still used small silver deniers, which had circulated since the time of Charlemagne to the exclusion of larger silver or gold coins. Over the years, French kings had granted numerous nobles and bishops the right to strike coins and their “feudal” coinages competed with the royal coinage. Venice and Florence had already shown that there was demand for larger silver and gold coins and in 1266 Louis IX sought an advantage for the royal coinage by expanding it in these areas. His gold écu d'or showed a shield strewn with fleur-de-lis, which was the coat of arms of the kings of France at the time. These coins were valued as if gold was worth only 10 times as much as silver, an unrealistic ratio which Edward III of England had unsuccessfully tried to use. It failed again, Louis IX’s silver coins were a great success but his gold was not accepted at this rate and his successor discontinued gold coinage.
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