Lira (sign: ₤, £, or L; plural: lire) is the name of the monetary unit of a number of countries, as well as the former currency of Italy, Malta, San Marino, Syria, Lebanon and the Vatican City (replaced in 2002 with the euro) and Israel. The term originates from the value of a Troy pound (Latin libra) of high purity silver. The libra was the basis of the monetary system of the Roman Empire. When Europe resumed a monetary system, during the Carolingian Empire, the Roman system was adopted, the so-called £sd (librae, solidi, denarii).

Particularly this system was kept during the Middle Ages and Modern Age in England, France, and Italy. In each of these countries the libra was translated into local language: pound in England, livre in France, lira in Italy. The Venetian lira was one of the currencies in use in Italy and due to the economic power of the Venetian Republic a popular currency in the Eastern Mediterranean trade.

During the 19th century Egypt and the Ottoman Empire adopted the lira as their national currency, equivalent to 100 piasters or kuruş. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed in years 1918-1922, many among the successor states kept the lira as their national currency. In some countries, such as Cyprus, which have belonged to both empires, the Ottoman Empire and the British Empire, the words lira and pound are used as equivalents.

L, sometimes in a double-crossed script form () or less often single-crossed (£), is usually used as the symbol (occasionally a plain capital "L" crossed by a bar is used).

Read more about Lira:  Former Currencies

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