The official currency of Lithuania is called the litas, or litai or litų in plural. Its ISO 4217 code is LTL and its symbol is Lt. It is subdivided into 100 centų or centai, or centas in singular. The litas was introduced as independence was declared by Lithuania after the Second World War in 1922. In June 1993, it was reintroduced. The name comes from the name of the country, which is Lithuania.
In October 1992, the first litas replaced the currencies issued by the Germans when it was introduced. The rate of the litas to the US dollar at that time was 10 litas = 1 USD. Even though the Lithuanian economy faced depression, it remained to be a stable currency. In 1938, the rate was 5.9 litai = 1 US dollar before it disappeared in 1941.
1925 saw the introduction of coins with denominations of silver 1, 2, and 5 litas coins and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 centų. In 1936, 10 litas were introduced. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 centai notes and 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, and 100 litai notes started circulating in 1922.
When the litas was brought back to circulation and became the county’s currency again, it replaced the tatonas currency of Lithuania.
The litas was first thought of by the officials to be introduced even before the declaration of Independence and was printed in the United States Banknote Corporation and was shipped to Lithuania in 1991.
The litas was ready for introduction by 1992 but due to its low quality, it was redesigned and reprinted before it was introduced in June 1993. The rate at that time between the US dollar and litas was 4.5 LTL = 1 USD. On April 1994 to February 2002, the rate became 4 LTL = 1 USD.
Aluminum 1, 2, and 5 centai coins, bronze 10, 20, and 50 centų, and cupro-nickel litas coins were introduced in 1993. 10, 20, and 50 centų coins in nickel-brass were introduced in 1997, 1 litas in cupro-nickel and bi-metallic 2 and 5 litas coins in 1998.
The designs of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 litai notes were found to be poor and easily copied so they introduced a new series of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 50 litai notes. All the first series notes were withdrawn except for 100 litas. In 1997, 200 litai notes were introduced and 500 litai notes in 2000.