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Currency of Guatemala: name, history, photo

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Currency of Guatemala: name, history, photo
Currency of Guatemala: name, history, photo

Money is an asset or product that enables and facilitates the exchange of other goods and services. The history of the monetary system of Guatemala begins with the barter system. Previously, various goods were used as a medium of exchange in their transfer. These were skins, metal, animals, wheat, barley and tools. The name of the currency of Guatemala is rooted in ancient times.

coins of Guatemala


The emergence of the monetary system of this country dates back to the Mayan era, when quetzal feathers (a local bird), s alt, obsidian, precious stones, jade and especially cocoa were used as a means of payment. The Spanish colonization established a monetary system to eliminate the practice of barter. A new structure was created based on the money of the conquerors.

The lack of readily available currency has led to the minting of coins in various American countries, especially in Guatemala. Spanish money that was imported or produced at the mints of the American continent, mainlythus, in Mexico, Bolivia and Peru, continued to circulate until the first quarter of the 19th century.

quetzal bird


Later, the coins of the Greater Republic of Central America or the Federal Republic of Central America were minted. With the advent of the nation state and the founding of the Republic of Guatemala, the government of Rafael Carrera adopted the "peso", with the system including the use of zloty and silver money.

In the last thirty years of the 19th century, the decimal system coexisted with another monetary structure based on the binary system. At this time, banknotes were issued, and by the end of the century, one peso was no longer minted, only coins of lower denominations survived.

In the same period, the curious money of Guatemala, known as "sedulas", tiny banknotes issued by municipalities and commercial institutions to pay off debts, appeared. The issuance of private currencies, called "features", was also regulated, they were issued for use in farms, hotels or commercial companies.

banknotes of Guatemala

Government regulation

In November 1924 and February 1925, the "Foreign Exchange Law" and the "Credit Institution Law" were passed. Two alternatives were considered for issuing gold coins or a currency convertible into gold, one requiring an external loan and the other a collection of national resources. We accepted the last option. In accordance with the law, a gold standard was adopted and a new monetary currency of Guatemala, the quetzal, was created.pegged to the US dollar. The right to create it was given to the Bank of Guatemala, the only institution authorized to issue currency.

Based on the US dollar exchange rate a year earlier, it was decided that the quetzal would be equal to 60 pesos, and the issuance of money would remain solely with the state. Under the new regime, silver and copper coins functioned as Guatemala's petty currency (higher denominations were issued only in banknotes). In 1925, silver coins were created in denominations of 1 quetzal, ½ quetzal, ten and five centavos, as well as one centavo from a copper alloy. In 1926, 20, 10 and 5 quetzals were made from gold. In 1932, two new denominations were introduced: ½ centavos and 2 centavos made from an alloy of copper and zinc.

The second reform of the republic's monetary and banking system was the result of the October Revolution of 1944, followed by the democratization and development of the economic thought of that time. Purpose: to provide the country with institutions to ensure internal economic stability and to facilitate the progressive and orderly development of production. To this end, the Congress of the Republic issued in the last months of 1945 Decree no. 203 "Money act" and Decree no. 215 "Law of the Bank of Guatemala", which provided the legal basis for the development of a modern central banking system.

Before the creation and operation of the new institution, the Government of the Republic and the Central Bank of Guatemala signed an agreement ad referendum on June 15, 1946. From now on, the state had the right to issue funds through the Bank of Guatemala, which also had toaccept obligations on banknotes in circulation and deposits.

On September 15, 1948, the first banknotes with new features and design were issued in denominations of 50 centavos, 1, 5, 10, 20 and for the first time, 100 quetzals. The bank also mints 25, 10, 5 and 1 centavo coins.

25 centavo coin

Modern stage

On August 20, 1964, under the leadership of Colonel Enrique Per alta Azurdia, Decree No. 265 "Law on the types of money" was issued, which determined that coins of 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 centavos would be issued. At the same time, alloys, the amount of metal, weight, design, diameter and thickness were determined for each of them. Banknotes began to issue 50 centavos, 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 quetzals, the law fixed the size and appearance of the currency of Guatemala.

On January 6, 1997, Decree No. 139-96 was issued by the Congress of the Republic, which contained a new law on types of currency. He enabled the issuance of the 200 quetzal note.

The last change in characteristics was established by Decree n. 92-98 of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala on November 26, 1998, which transformed the design on the back of one quetzal. The Agreement for a Lasting and Lasting Peace signed on December 29, 1996 by the Government of the Republic and the National Revolutionary Unit of Guatemala was a historic event depicted as the main motif of the legal tender coin.

Interesting facts about the currency of Guatemala

Quetzal owes its name to a bird that lives in Central America and is currently underendangered.

The national coat of arms of Guatemala is depicted on the front side of the coins.

The diameter of the 10 centavo coin is 21 millimeters.

1 Quetzal with the inscription Paz ("Peace") in the form of a stylized dove, with the inscription Paz Firme y Duradera ("Firm and lasting peace") - on the back, "December 29, 1996" - below it and on the right - the number 1 and the word "quetzal".

Each banknote has an image of a bird that gave its name to this currency.

coin 1 quetzal

Structure of the financial system

Quetzal (GTQ) is subdivided into 100 centavos. The surprisingly stable exchange rate of the Guatemalan currency against the US dollar is approximately 8 to 1. Guatemalan coins of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos and 1 quetzal are in circulation. The country's banknotes include a bill of 50 centavos, as well as 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 quetzals.

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