THE EVOLUTION OF NIGERIA’S CURRENCY Let’s take a trip down memory lane and check out the timeline of Nigeria’s currency: 1. Trade-by-barter & Cowries: Before 1700-1900s Trade-by-barter systems using farm produce and livestock like goats, cows, sheep, were common as a system of currency. One of the oldest known forms of currency in African parts is cowries. Cowries per bag were used before banknotes and coins were introduced into the economy. 2. Shillings: Early 1900s The West African Currency Board issued it's 2/-,10/- and 20 shillings in 1916-1918. However, the notes were received poorly and eventually withdrawn in 1923 as not many could afford to use them. 10 years after, the notes were restyled and reintroduced between 1928-1941. These were a better quality print. 3. Pounds, penny, pence: 1959 In 1959, Nigeria’s Independence was looming and the Central Bank of Nigeria was established. The CBN issued Nigerian currency notes in the denominations of Five (5) pounds, One (1) pound, Ten (10/-) Shillings, Five (5/-) shillings and coins in the denominations of Two (2/-) shillings, three (3p) Pence One (1p) Penny and One half (1/2p) Penny. In 1965 and 1968, some of the notes were restyled but the coins remained the same. 4. Naira & kobo: 1973 Nigeria made a great leap in changing to its own decimal currency on January 1, 1973. Both notes and coins experienced this change. One (1) Naira was equivalent to Ten (10/-) Shillings. The notes were in the denominations of Ten Naira (10), Five Naira (5), One Naira (1), and Fifty Kobo (50k) while coins were Twenty Kobo (20k), Ten Kobo (10k), Five Kobo (5k), One Kobo (1k) and Half (1/2k) Kobo. 5. Portraits of national heroes on Naira notes: 1977 & 1979 In 1977, the Twenty (20) Naira note was issued with a portrait of General Murtala Ramat Muhammed, on the 1st anniversary of Gen. Muhammad's assassination as a tribute. At the time, this was the highest denomination and the first currency to bear the portrait of a Nigerian citizen. On 2nd July 1979, all the other notes of Ten Naira (10), Five Naira (5), One Naira (1) were introduced to reflect portraits of national heroes: Alvan Ikoku, Sir Tafawa Balewa, and Sir Herbert Macaulay. 6. N100, N200, N500 & N1,000 notes: 1999-2005 The Hundred (100) Naira note was introduced on December 1, 1999. The main feature of the note is the portrait of Chief Obafemi Awolowo on the front and a picture of the Zuma Rock, at the back. The Two-Hundred (200) Naira note was released on November 1, 2000. Its front was a picture of Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and the first Premier of Northern Nigeria. The Five-Hundred (500) Naira note was released on April 4, 2001. In front of it is a portrait of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Behind the note is the picture of an offshore oil-rig. The One-Thousand (1000) Naira note was released on October 12, 2005. It is currently the highest denomination in circulation. On the front of the note are the portraits of Alhaji Aliyu Mai Bornu and Dr. Clement Isong, who were the first and second indigenous Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria. At the back of the note is the picture of CBN's Corporate Head Office in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria. 7. Near death of the Kobo: 2007 In 2007, the one (1k) kobo, ten (10k) kobo, and twenty-five (25k) kobo coins were ushered off the market. The Fifty kobo (50k) coin was redesigned and re-introduced. This is the only kobo still in circulation. CTA: What currency was in circulation when you were born?
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