Maldivian Rufiyaa

The Rufiyaa is the currency of the country Maldives. The term rufiyaa was taken from the Hindu word “rupiyaa”, and first and foremost to a Sanskrit term “rupya” which means “wrought silver”. The country’s currency symbols are MRF and Rf; the Maldivian Rufiyaa’s code is MVR. The one responsible for issuing the currency is the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA). The rufiyaa was divided in 100 laari. Think of it as cents.

During the 13th century, Maldives was widely using cowry shells (Cypraea moneta) as a form of currency, and they were highly in demand. It is said that more than 40 ships, loaded with cowry shells, were exported every year. Sometime between the 17th and 18th century, straps of silver wires were folded in half and dyed with Arabic inscriptions. These silvers were called lärin and were traded as a currency in countries like Ceylon, India, the Far East, and the Persian Gulf.

Ghaazee Mohamed Thakurufaanu Al Auzam was the first sultan to have his own seal imprinted on the currency. The prints could not be understood quite well because the seal was much bigger than the wires. Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar introduced coins which were a lot neater and legible compared to previous kinds of money. They were also made out of pure silver. In 1787, when Hassan Noorudding was sultan, gold coins replaced the silver ones.

It was in the great 19th to 20th century that bronze coins were circulated and came to be known as the laari. Around 1900-1904, historians thought that maybe during the reign of Sultan Mohamed Imaadhudheen IV, machines were the ones printing the coins because of the quality of the engravements – fine and superb. His successor issued 1 and 4 laari denominations and had them printed in the United Kingdom in 1913. These were the last of the bronze coins to be created. The denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10 rufiyaa were printed and circulated in 1945. Two years after that, the Sultanate came to use the Ceylonese Rupee. Coins made out of steel clad copper nickel were introduced in 1983. A lot of new coins were then distributed. Coins now in circulation are 1 laari, 2 laari, 5 laari, 10 laari, 25 laari, 50 laari, 1 rufiyaa, and 2 rufiyaa. Bank notes were issued in 1983 as well, and are used up to this day – with the denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 rufiyaa. In 1990, 500 rufiyaa was put into circulation, with the 2 rufiyaa replaced by a coin in 1995.

The exchange rate of one US Dollar to Rufiyaa as of February 23, 2011 is, buying: 12.75 :: selling: 12.85.

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