The kuna, since 1994, is the official currency of Croatia, a former constituent republic of Yugoslavia. It is subdivided into 100 lipa. It is known as HRK under ISO 4217 and is also written under the same symbol.
The kuna also served as a transitional currency for Croatia since the country used Croatian dinar before May 1994. During that period until December 1994, the kuna was exchanged for 1000 Croatian dinars.
Also an interesting and controversial fact to note is that the kuna is also the currency that the former Independent State of Croatia – which was established by the Ustase in 1941 – used. The very same name of currency was also issued by the Banovina of Croatia in 1939, under the Yugoslav Monarchy.
Since its introduction in 1994, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 lipa along with 1, 2 and 5 kuna coins. The coins featured common plants and animals of Croatia. What is unique about the coins is the difference in language used for odd and even-ending years. Coins minted in odd-ending years contain Croatian names while those issued in even-ending years have Latin names. There were also commemorative coins issued which are also accepted in circulation. The very same denomination of coins issued since 1994 are still in current circulation.
Kuna banknotes in current circulation are of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 denominations. The bills feature famous historical figures that have contributed greatly to various fields. The other side features Croatia’s known landmarks. There are also commemorative kuna bills which were issued to mark the 10th anniversary of using the kuna as Croatia’s currency. The bills were issued on May 30, 2004 exactly ten years after kuna was introduced.
Kuna’s current exchange rate to a US dollar is pegged at 5.40 kunas for every dollar.
Kuna’s etymology is also historical in roots. The word kuna means marten in native Croatian language. Marten skins were used as tax currencies in most Slavic countries during the Roman times. They were equated to some specific weight of silver during those times.
Currently, Croatia plans to accede with the European Union; replacement of the kuna is expected to take place within two to three years following its membership to the union.