The Jamaican dollar is the monetary unit of Jamaica, where it is issued, since 1969. The symbol is $, J$ or JA$ to distinguish it from the American dollar and other dollars.
Origins and history
Previous to the Jamaican dollar, which was introduced in 1969, the official currency was the pound sterling.
On 30th January 1968 the Jamaican House of Representatives voted unanimously the introduction of the dollar to replace the Jamaican pound.
The Committee recommended that, as far as possible, the new coins should be the same size and weight as the coins of the pounds, shillings and pence, as people were used to them. As for banknotes, it was recommended that portraits of national figures should replace the portrait of the Queen and a motto should be incorporated into the design of the new banknotes. It was also considered appropriate to keep the same colours and size in the banknotes as the previous ones.
In June 1994, the Council of Ministers approved a new monetary structure according to which the banknote of $5 would be replaced by a coin, the $1 by 25 cents of dollar, 10 cents would have a new look and the 5 cents would be abandoned. The new structure of coins would include the following denominations: 1, 10 and 25 cents, $1 and $5, while the notes would be 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 dollars.
In 1999 it was decided to include another banknote and a coin of 10. In March 2000, a bill of $1,000 was put into circulation and in July of the same year, $20 note was replaced by a coin. This coin bore the portrait of national hero, Marcus Garvey, and was the first bimetallic coin to be produced by Jamaica.
Current Jamaican dollar coins and banknotes
Today, there are coins of 1, 10 and 25 cents and 1, 5, 10 and 20 Jamaican dollars.
Regarding banknotes, denominations of 50, 100, 500, 1,000 and 5,000 dollars are in circulation.
Interesting facts of the Jamaican dollar
- The maravedíes, Spanish copper coins, were the first money in Jamaica.
- The Jamaican dollar (as well as the Cayman Islands dollar) is different from all the other dollars in the British West Indies in that its value was half-pound sterling, while other dollars took as reference either the US dollar unit or the Spanish dollar unit.
- Jamaica became independent in 1962.
- Official language in Jamaica is English.