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Educating The Youth Using Money

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Apr. 29th, 2010 | 11:40 pm

I want my store to be a place of education as well as commerce.  To that end I am placing snippets of information in with all of the currency I sell.  Later I may do the same with the coins.  Here is what I have so far.  Feel free to read and comment. 


People have lived in Afghanistan for more than 50,000 years, and it is the home of some of the oldest cities in the world. For centuries, Afghanistan was an important crossroads in central Asia, located along the Silk Road that connected Europe to China and the rest of Asia. The ancient religion of Zoroaster was founded more than 3000 years ago in the ancient city of Balkh (called by the Arabs Umm-al-belad—“Mother of Cities). The 500 Afghani note features horsemen playing the ancient game of Buzkashi, where riders compete to grab the headless carcass of a goat and throw it into a ring.

The county of Albania has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, with 98.7% of its citizens able to read. The people of Albania call their country Shqipëri, which means “Home of Eagles”. The two-headed eagle on Albania’s flag comes from the coat of arms of Skanderbeg—Albania’s national hero—who fought for Albania’s independence from the Ottoman Empire in the 1400’s. The two-headed eagle symbol itself comes from the Byzantine, or Eastern Roman Empire (the Western Roman empire had a single-headed eagle as its symbol).

Argentina (Land of Silver) is the home of Cerro Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas (or anywhere outside of the Himalayas). It rises 22,841 feet above sea level. Argentina has long been one of the world’s greatest nations in soccer, being the home of Alfredo di Stéfano and Diego Maradona. Argentina is also a world center of cinema. The first animated movies ever made were produced in Buenos Aires by cartoonist Quirino Cristiani in 1917 and 1918 (20 years before the first US animated movie—Snow White!).

Bangladesh is the home of the Wonderbaums—the world’s largest mangrove forest, habitat for the Royal Bengal tiger. The 2 Taka note features the Magpie-Robin, Bangladesh’s national bird. Other than a few city-states and very small countries like Malta, Bangladesh has the most people per square mile (almost 2,700!) of any country in the world. Food in Bangladesh is spicy and delicious, with curries being favorites. Bangladesh’s flag has the red rising sun of independence on a green background symbolizing the country’s lush natural landscape.

Belarus, or “White Russia” (“bela” means white, as in the white Beluga Whale) became an independent country for the first time in 1991, having earlier been a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Soviet Union, the Principality of Polotsk, and the Russian Empire. The Tsar used to be called “The Tsar Of All The Russias—The Great, Little (Ukraine), and White.” The name may come from its beautiful snowy flatlands. The backs of many Belarusian banknotes feature a warrior on horseback known as a “Pagonya”.  

The Kingdom of Bhutan  is known by the Bhutanese as Druk Yul—The Land Of The Thunder Dragon. It is home to the highest mountain in the world that has never been climbed: the 24,840 feet high Gangkhar Puensum. Bhutan had no Internet or even television until 1999! Bhutan’s national sport is archery, and when archers compete it is considered fair to try to distract an opponent who is getting ready to shoot an arrow by standing close to the target or even making fun of how bad a shot he is. Bhutan became a democratic constitutional monarchy in 2008. The young king, who was born in 1980, is named King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck.

Even though there is money from Biafra, Biafra was never counted as a nation by most of the world. Biafra is a region in the South of Nigeria that tried to become independent in the late 1960s. The Igbo people who live there are mostly Christian or animist and often suffer persecution or worse from the Muslim Hausa and Fulani peoples who live in the North of Nigeria. The main reason for this is not religious—it is because Biafra is rich in oil and the ruling Northerners want to keep the oil money for themselves. The organization Doctors Without Borders was founded in Biafra during the Biafrans fight for independence. French medical volunteers were attacked by the Nigerian army. That and their sadness at seeing starving and wounded Biafrans caused them to start the organization, which is currently providing health care and education in more than 60 countries.

The Plurinational State of Bolivia is named after Simón Bolívar, who led Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela to independence from Spain in the early 1800s. Bolivia is the home of Cerro Potosí, also called “The Rich Mountain”, from which the Spaniards mined 45,000 tons of silver. Many of the native Aymara and Quechua people died for this silver, since the silver was separated from mined rocks by grinding the rocks up, mixing them with poisonous mercury, and boiling the mercury away. So many died that the Spaniards greatly increased the number of slaves they brought from Africa to work in the mines. These slaves also died in great numbers from the mercury. Today, Bolivia has the world’s largest deposits of lithium. When plug-in electric cars with lithium-ion batteries start to be mass produced, Bolivia may become the Saudi Arabia of the 21st century. Music and dancing are beloved in Bolivia; the “devil dances” of the Carnaval de Oruro are one of the world’s great spectacles.  

World War One was started in what is now Bosnia, in the city of Sarajevo (where the 14th Winter Olympics were held in 1984). A Bosnian Serb named Gavrilo Princip joined a group called Ujedinjenje ili Smrt (Union or Death), also known as The Black Hand. The Black Hand gave him a gun which he used to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. The Black Hand thought that this would lead Russia to support independence for Bosnia and Serbia, who were ruled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Instead, Germany panicked at the news and invaded both Russia and France. In the four following years of war, 15 million people were killed. The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina endured more sadness in their fight for independence from Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. Today, the country is a parliamentary democracy that hopes to join the European Union. The Kravice waterfall in Herzegovina is one of the most beautiful in the world.


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