Ethiopia: Ethiopian Birr
The official currency of Ethiopia is the birr. Earlier in 1976¸ the dollar was used as the official translation of birr but now birr is used in English as well. Before 1931¸ the currency could be considered as Abyssinian birr and after that it was the Ethiopian birr.
The second most used currency in Africa with 88 million users is the Ethiopian Birr¸ the Nigerian naira being the first. In 2008¸ about 186 billion birr were in circulation. The ISO 4217 code given to the Ethiopian birr is ETB.
The First Birr from 1855-1936
In 1855¸ the Maria Theresa thaler was taken as the standard coin in 1855. During this time the Mexican dollar and the Indian rupee were used for foreign trade. The new Ethiopian coinage was introduced in 1903. The Ethiopian coinage took its own time to get accepted. Later in 1931¸ the Bank of Ethiopia reorganized everything. The currency was also decimalized and copper coins and token nickel were issued. The banknotes appeared in French and Amharic.
The Second Birr from 1945
In 1945 the second birr was introduced at the rate of 1 birr = 2 shillings. All banknotes had the name Ethiopian dollar in English text printed on it. It was further divided into 100 santim. In 1976¸ the birr was used officially in all languages.
Ethiopia: Ethiopian Birr – Coins (First Birr)
Copper coins in denominations of 1/100 and 1/32 birr were introduced between 1894 and 1897. These were introduced along with silver 1 ghersh¸ 1/8¸ ¼¸ ½ and 1 birr. New series of coins were introduced in 1931 and it consisted of copper 1 and 5 metonnyas and 10¸ 20 and 50 nickel metonnyas.
Coins were reintroduced in denominations of 1¸ 5¸ 10 and 25 santim and silver santim in 1944. The second series came into existence in 1977. It consisted of aluminium 1 santim¸ brass 5 and 10 santim.
Ethiopia: Ethiopian Birr – Banknotes (First Birr)
Banknotes in denominations of 5¸ 10¸ 100 and 500 talari were introduced by the Bank of Abyssinia in 1915. About 280¸000 talari notes were printed and later the 50 talari note was issued in 1929.
In 1932¸ the Bank of Ethiopia issued notes in denominations of 5¸ 10¸ 50¸ 100 and 500 talari.
The Second Birr
In 1945¸ the State Bank of Ethiopia introduced banknotes in denominations of 1¸ 5¸ 10¸ 50¸ 100 and 500 birr. Then in 1966¸ the National Bank of Ethiopia started producing banknotes in all denominations other than 500 birr.
Currency Exchange Rate to other World Famous Currencies like US¸ UK etc
1 ETB = 0.0370738 GBP
1 ETB = 0.0599873 USD
The above rates are as of March 8¸ 2011 and are subjected to changes are per the market conditions.