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Gaining CurrencyThe Rise of the Renminbi$
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Eswar S. Prasad

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190631055

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190631055.001.0001

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A Historical Prologue

A Historical Prologue

(p.1) Chapter 1. A Historical Prologue
Gaining Currency

Eswar S. Prasad

Oxford University Press

China pioneered the use of paper currency. This chapter traces the history of Chinese paper currency, from its origins in the 7th century, all the way to the present RMB notes. The chapter presents evidence that China not only had the first paper currency but also the first fiat currency (in Kublai Khan’s regime), among the first episodes of hyperinflation, and one of the earliest currency wars on record. The chapter also has a brief overview of Chinese monetary history prior to the creation of the RMB in 1949, when the People’s Republic of China was established. Finally, the chapter describes the evolution of different RMB notes and explains the difference between the terms renminbi and yuan.

Keywords:   China, paper currency, renminbi, yuan, currency war, Mao Zedong, Marco Polo, Genghis Khan

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