Do you ever have strange questions that live rent-free in your head until you find the answer? The latest ridiculous dilemma to take up residence in my brain has been: Why do we call a US dollar a 'buck,' and how long have we been using the term in Michigan? The answer is fascinating and rooted in a trade that began in Michigan in 1670 when two French adventurers founded a company that made a fortune in the wilderness of Michigan.

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Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Medard Chouart des Groselliers entered the British service and, while in what would become the United States of America, began establishing trading posts and mapping much of the Great Lakes State in the process. Trade routes were created, and an empire, the Hudson's Bay Trading Company, was born. But what does this have to do with calling a US dollar a buck? Without the fur trade, 100 pennies would just be called a dollar.

How Michigan's Fur Trade Contributed to the Dollar's 'Buck' Nickname

Why Do Michiganders Call a Dollar a Buck? The Fascinating History
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In order to find the first written use of the word "buck" to refer to as a financial term, you'd need to travel back to 1748, nearly 45 years before the first US dollar was minted. According to Investopedia, it was then that Conrad Weiser, a Pennsylvania Dutch pioneer who had regular dealings with Native Americans, overseas traders, and colonists, wrote that someone was robbed of "300 bucks" worth of items.

The 'bucks' Weiser was referring to deerskins. Another example in written form also comes from 1748, noting that a cask of whiskey could be traded with Native Americans for "5 bucks", according to USCoinsAndJewelery.com.

Why Do Michiganders Call a Dollar a Buck? The Fascinating History
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This may leave you with more questions, like why money is referred to as dough, bread, cheddar, clams, moolah, scratch, or smackers. At least you'll rest easier knowing why a US single is called a "buck."

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So, the next time you hand over a single, be thankful that you're not having to cram a deer pelt into your purse or wallet. Imagine how many you'd need for a tank of gas.

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