FYI April 02, 2019

On This Day

1792 – The Coinage Act is passed establishing the United States Mint.
The Coinage Act or the Mint Act, passed by the United States Congress on April 2, 1792, created the United States dollar as the country’s standard unit of money, established the United States Mint, and regulated the coinage of the United States.[1] The long title of the legislation is An act establishing a mint, and regulating the Coins of the United States. This act established the silver dollar as the unit of money in the United States, declared it to be lawful tender, and created a decimal system for U.S. currency.[2]

By the Act, the Mint was to be situated at the seat of government of the United States. The five original officers of the U.S. Mint were a Director, an Assayer, a Chief Coiner, an Engraver, and a Treasurer (not the same as the United States Secretary of the Treasury). The Act allowed that one person could perform the functions of Chief Coiner and Engraver. The Assayer, Chief Coiner and Treasurer were required to post a $10,000 bond with the Secretary of the Treasury.

The Act pegged the newly created United States dollar to the value of the widely used Spanish silver dollar, saying it was to have “the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current”.[3]



Born On This Day

1647 – Maria Sibylla Merian, German-Dutch botanist and illustrator (d. 1717)
Maria Sibylla Merian (2 April 1647 – 13 January 1717[1]) was a German-born naturalist and scientific illustrator, a descendant of the Frankfurt branch of the Swiss Merian family. Merian was one of the first naturalists to observe insects directly.

Merian received her artistic training from her stepfather, Jacob Marrel, a student of the still life painter Georg Flegel. Merian published her first book of natural illustrations in 1675. She had started to collect insects as an adolescent and at age thirteen she raised silk worms. In 1679 Merian published the first volume of a two-volume series on caterpillars, the second volume followed in 1683. Each volume contained 50 plates engraved and etched by Merian. Merian documented evidence on the process of metamorphosis and the plant hosts of 186 European insect species. Along with the illustrations Merian included a descriptions of their life cycles.

In 1699 Merian travelled to Dutch Surinam to study and record the tropical insects. In 1705 she published Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium. Few colour images of the New World were printed before 1700 and thus Merian’s Metamorphosis has been credited with influencing a range of naturalist illustrators. Because of her careful observations and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly, she is considered by David Attenborough[2] to be among the most significant contributors to the field of entomology. She was a leading entomologist of her time and she discovered many new facts about insect life through her studies.[3]




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