Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Pound (currency)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Pound (currency)

The pound is a unit of currency in some nations. The term originated in Great Britain as the value of a pound (weight) of silver.


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.

The currency's symbol is £, a stylised representation of the letter L, standing for livre or lira. 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 a number of (primarily British and related) currencies and a variety of obsolete currencies. Some of them, those official in former Italian states and in countries formerly belonging to the Ottoman Empire, are called pound in English, while in the local languages their official name is lira.

Current currencies

  • Pound sterling (GBP, represented by the pound sign: "£"), the currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown dependencies (the Isle of Man and the Channel Island bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey) and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and British Indian Ocean Territory. See also Isle of Man pound, Jersey pound, Guernsey pound and Alderney pound.
  • Egyptian pound
  • Lebanese pound
  • South Sudanese pound
  • Sudanese pound
  • Syrian pound
  • Equal exchange rate

    The following currencies are interchangeable at par with the pound sterling. These are issued in the Crown dependencies and certain British Overseas Territories:

    Historical currencies

  • Anglo-Saxon pound (Anglo-Saxon England)
  • Australian pound (until 1966, replaced by the Australian dollar). The Australian pound was also used in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Nauru, New Hebrides and Papua and New Guinea. It was replaced in the New Hebrides in 1977 by the New Hebrides franc.
  • Bahamian pound (until 1966, replaced by the Bahamian dollar)
  • Bermudian pound (until 1970, replaced by the Bermudian dollar)
  • Biafran pound (1968 to 1970, replaced by the Nigerian pound)
  • British West African pound
  • in British Cameroon replaced by the CFA franc in 1961
  • in Gambia, replaced by the Gambian pound in 1968
  • in Ghana, replaced by the Ghanaian pound in 1958
  • in Liberia, replaced by the U.S. dollar in 1943
  • in Nigeria, replaced by the Nigerian pound in 1958
  • in Sierra Leone, replaced by the leone in 1964
  • Canadian pound (until 1859, replaced by the Canadian dollar)
  • Cypriot pound (Cyprus and Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, until 1 January 2008, replaced by the euro)
  • Fijian pound (until 1969, replaced by the Fijian dollar)
  • Gambian pound (1968 to 1971, replaced by the dalasi)
  • Ghanaian pound (1958 to 1965, replaced by the cedi)
  • Irish pound (Irish: Punt na hÉireann) (until 2002, replaced by the euro)
  • Israeli pound, also known as the Israeli lira (until 1980, replaced by the sheqel)
  • Jamaican pound (until 1968, replaced by the Jamaican dollar). The Jamaican pound was also used in Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands until 1968.
  • Jordanian pound; see Palestine pound.
  • Libyan pound (until 1971, replaced by the Libyan dinar)
  • Malawian pound (1964 to 1970, replaced by the Malawian kwacha)
  • Maltese pound (until 1972, replaced by the Maltese lira which was itself replaced by the euro on 1 January 2008)
  • New Brunswick pound
  • Newfoundland pound (until 1865, replaced by the Newfoundland dollar)
  • New Guinean pound
  • New Zealand pound (until 1967, replaced by the New Zealand dollar). The New Zealand pound was also used in the Cook Islands and the Pitcairn Islands.
  • Nigerian pound (1958 to 1973, replaced by the naira)
  • Nova Scotian pound (until 1860, replaced by the Nova Scotian dollar)
  • Oceanian pound (Kiribati, Nauru, New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu)
  • Palestine pound (replaced by the Israeli pound; also served as Jordanian pound, replaced in Jordan by the Jordanian dinar)
  • Pound Scots of Scotland (until 1707 union with England)
  • Prince Edward Island pound
  • Rhodesian pound (until 1970 in Rhodesia, replaced by the Rhodesian dollar; until 1964 in Nyasaland, replaced by the Malawian pound; and until 1964 in Northern Rhodesia, replaced by the Zambian pound)
  • Rhodesia and Nyasaland pound
  • Samoan pound (1914–1920 provisional issue by the New Zealand Government military administration. 1920–1959 by the New Zealand Government administration (Treasury notes). 1960–1963 by the Bank of Western Samoa. Replaced 1967 by the tala ($).)
  • Scottish pound; see Pound Scots
  • Solomon Islands pound
  • South African pound (until 1961, replaced by South African rand). The South African pound was also used in Basutoland, Bechuanaland, South West Africa and Swaziland.
  • South African Republic pond
  • South West African pound
  • Southern Rhodesian pound
  • Sudanese pound (until 1992 and since January 2007)
  • Tongan pound (1921–1966 Government of Tonga Treasury notes. 1967 replaced by the pa'anga ($))
  • Transvaal pound
  • West Indian pound (until 1949, replaced by East Caribbean dollar)
  • Western Samoan pound
  • Zambian pound (1964 to 1968, replaced by the Zambian kwacha)
  • Currencies of the former British colonies in America

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

  • Connecticut pound (Connecticut)
  • Delaware pound (Delaware)
  • Georgia pound (Georgia)
  • Maryland pound (Maryland)
  • Massachusetts pound (Massachusetts)
  • New Hampshire pound (New Hampshire)
  • New Jersey pound (New Jersey)
  • New York pound (New York)
  • North Carolina pound (North Carolina)
  • Pennsylvania pound (Pennsylvania)
  • Rhode Island pound (Rhode Island)
  • South Carolina pound (South Carolina)
  • Virginia pound (Virginia)
  • References

    Pound (currency) Wikipedia