1252 was the year when Europe re-established itself economically. This was when Florence and Genoa began using gold for their currency. It is also when international trade became heavy enough that merchants began recording exchange rates between different cities. Letters of credit enabled traders to obtain local currency at each port they visited. Merchants wanted a guaranteed amount of money when they arrived at each port, and this is how the system of global exchange rates was born.
Forward rates were quoted on the currencies of other countries and cities throughout Europe, allowing for both the differences in the gold content of the coins of each city and the time value of money as the ships sailed across the oceans.
In the 1700s, countries began issuing paper money and exchange rates had to reflect the value of government paper, not gold coins. When the telegraph was invented in the 1800s, money could be wired instantly and exchange rates had to reflect these changes.
Today, there are over 100 currencies and GFD provides daily data on fluctuations beginning in the 1920s. GFD’s analytical tools allow you to convert economic and financial data of one country into the currencies of a hundred other countries. No other source provides the detailed, historical data on the lifeblood of the global economy, and exchange rates, that Global Financial Data does.