Sankt Joachimsthal (“Valley of Saint Joachim”) is the German name of Jáchymov, a small town in the Czech Republic. It’s in the Erzgebirge mountains near the country’s north-western border towards Germany. This place currently has only a bit more than three thousand inhabitants, and yet its name is used daily by billions of people worldwide. Jáchymov is the birthplace of the Valley Coin, the Thaler, the daler, the dollar.
In 1516 a major silver lode was discovered near the Bohemian village of Conradsgrün. The following year the village was re-christened Sankt Joachimsthal, and in 1519 the first Joachimsthaler coin was struck. The mint was owned by the Counts of Schlick, who grew immensely rich from it. With time the name of the characteristic high-silver coin was applied to similar ones elsewhere, until in the 18th century Daler coins were current in most of Europe.
Toward the end of that century the United States and Canada found themselves in need of their own national currencies free from any links with English coinage, and so they adopted something approximating the silver “dollars” of continental Europe. And not only that, but also the rest, is history.