Lead Story

04-01-1999

Single European currency debuts

For the first time since Charlemagne's reign in the ninth century, Europe is united with a common currency when the euro debuts as a financial unit in corporate and investment markets. Eleven European Union nations, representing 290 million people, launched the currency with hopes of increasing European integration and economic growth. Closing at a robust 1.17 U.S. dollars on its first day, the euro promised to give the dollar a run for its money in the new global economy. This initial optimism, however, soon petered out when the euro began a long, steady decline, dropping below dollar parity in December 1999 and losing another 20 percent of its value in 2000. Despite these setbacks, hard euro currency--decorated with architectural images, symbols of European unity, and member-state motives--is scheduled to hit the streets on January 1, 2002, permanently replacing the mark, markka, franc, lira, peseta, florin, Irish pound, Austrian schilling, and escudo by July of that year.

Also on this Day

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1999

The euro debuts

On this day in 1999, for the first time since Charlemagne's reign in the ninth century, Europe is united with a common currency when the "euro" debuts as a financial unit in corporate and investment markets. Eleven European Union (E.U.) nations (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain), representing some 290 million people, lau... Read more >

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1954

Elvis Presley records demo

The office assistant was so impressed that she brought a copy of the recording to studio executive Sam Phillips, who asked Presley to audition for him."}">Elvis Presley, a struggling young musician who works in a machine shop, makes a recording for his mother's birthday on this day in 1954. He paid $4 at Sun Records to record two songs, "Casual Love Affair" and "I'll Never Stand in Your Way.... Read more >

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1965

Poet T.S. Eliot dies in London

Poet T.S. Eliot dies in London at age 76. Eliot’s 'The Waste Land', published in 1922, is considered the single most influential work of poetry of the twentieth century. In 1948 he was bestowed the Order of Merit by King George VI and in the same year was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

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