England, although commonly referred to as a country, is actually not a sovereign state. It is the largest country both by landmass and population in the United Kingdom. The British pound (GBP) or the British pound sterling is the currency of England. The currency is also called Quid, a slang expression. One quid is equal to 100 pence. The slang expression is believed to have come from "quid pro quo," a Latin phrase that translates to "something for something," which means an equal exchange for goods or services.
The first issued pound banknotes were issued by the Bank of England more than 300 years ago, and over the years, the notes underwent several changes. The pound coin first appeared during the rule of Henry VII in 1489. In 1694, pound notes started to circulate in England shortly after establishing the bank, and originally, the notes were handwritten. The pound worked in its complex scheme of pennies and shillings until 1971 when the decimal system was introduced. The U.K. government authorized the Bank of England to set the British pound's monetary policy by regulating the money supply. It currently has control over the issuance of banknotes in both Wales and England.
As it defines one pound sterling, Quid is thought to have come initially into use sometime in the late 17th century, but no one is quite sure why this word grew to become synonymous with the British currency. Although the word's origin remains to be a mystery, the pound sterling has a rich history of longer than 12 centuries being the world's oldest currency still in use. Historians trailed the pound sterling all the way back to 775 A.D. when Anglo-Saxon kings used silver pennies that they called sterlings as their currency. Some person who accumulated 240 of them had 1 pound of sterlings, hence the title "pound sterling." Libra means "weight" in Latin, and Libra Pondo translates to pound weight, which is why the British pound carries a fancy "L" or £ symbol. Great Britain is one of the few European islands that does not utilize the euro as a common currency.
The standard of 240 pence in one pound sterling continued as the standard for nearly 1,200 years until 1971, which was when the British Parliament initiated decimalization to make 100 pence equivalent to one pound sterling.