The dirham is the legal tender in Morocco, made up of 100 units each of them called a santim. Dirhams are the official Moroccan currency since 1882, and they come in coins of nine denominations and banknotes of four denominations.
Origins and history
Before 1882, when the new monetary system was introduced, Morocco issued copper coins called falus, silver dirhams and golden benduqui. In 1882, the dirham became a multiple of the rial coins.
In 1960, after the end of the French protectorate, the country introduced the dirham again to replace francs (1 dirham equalled 100 francs). This currency still circulated until 1974.
Current Moroccan dirham banknotes
The first dirham banknotes were overprints on earlier franc banknotes, in denominations of 50 dirhams (on older 5,000 franc notes) and 100 dirhams (on 10,000 franc notes). In 1965 new notes were issued for 5, 10 and 50 dirhams. 100 dirham notes were introduced in 1970, followed by 200 dirham notes in 1991 and 20 dirham notes in 1996. 5 dirham notes were replaced by coins in 1980 and 10 dirham notes were replaced by coins in 1995.
The current series of banknotes, , issued in the reign of Mohammed VI, circulates together with the series issued in the reign of his father, King Hassan II. Both series circulate together normally, but the notes issued under the former monarch are being gradually replaced by the new ones. The colours for both series are the same, unchanged, only the design of the new series varies with the effigy of the new monarch and its more modern graphic design and newer security measures.
Nowadays there are 20, 50, 100 and 200 dirham notes in circulation. For more information check Bank Al-Maghrib’s web page, which issues the banknotes and coins for this currency.
Current dirham coins in use
In 1960 new 1 dirham coins were issued in silver, and for 1 and 5 dirham coins, in nickel in 1965. In 1974 a new monetary system started with the issuing of centimes, in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 centime coins and 1 dirham coins. 1 centime coins were minted in aluminium, 5, 10 and 20 centime coins in bronze-aluminium and the rest in cupro-nickel. In 1980 a new coin of 5 dirhams was issued, but was soon replaced by a bimetallic coin of the same value in 1987. In 1995 a new bimetallic 10 dirham coin was added.
The current legal tender coins were issued in the year 2002, and they gradually replaced the former series bearing the bust of King Hassan II. These 5 and 10 dirham coins are bimetallic and 1 centime coins are no longer minted, although they were never officially removed from circulation. In 2002 a new 2 dirham denomination was introduced.
The coins currently in circulation are 5, 10 and 20 centime coins, and 0.5, 1, 2, 5 and 10 dirhams. Check Bank Al-Maghrib’s web page for more information. .
Interesting facts of the Moroccan dirham
- The plural for dirham is darahim, although in English and French the word dirhams is commonly used.
- The centimes of dirhams are called francs or santimat.
- One dirham is divided into 100 francs or santimat.
- In countryside markets the reales (rial) and duros (doro) are still used.