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Social Studies High School Medium

Banking in Early Europe

Before the European Renaissance (14th–17th centuries), loaning money, or usury, was considered sinful and strictly prohibited by the Catholic Church. Nonetheless, the banking industry flourished. In time, the idea started that one could pay for salvation. “Sinners” began donating money and artworks to the Church as a way of gaining favor with both the Church and God. As these indulgence flooded in, the Church didn’t protest. The massive influx of wealth to the church provided the fertile ground for the birth of the Renaissance. In this audio story, learn about the birthplace of banking and how many of today’s banking terms come from 14th century Florence.

World History I Banking

Story Length: 4:15

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National Public Radio © 2012 National Public Radio, Inc. Used with the permission of NPR. All rights reserved.

AIR DATE: 01/31/2012

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