Jamaican Dollar

Name of currency: Jamaican Dollar

Country / countries used: Jamaica

Symbol: $

Brief history:

The Jamaican dollar has been the currency in Jamaica since 1969 and is commonly abbreviated as ‘J$’ to differentiate from other dollars. The code for this currency is ‘JMD’ and is commonly used to refer to this dollar. Jamaica is part of the British West Indies but the currency is differentiated because Jamaica uses mostly sterling metals for coins.

The original form of Jamaican currency came in the form of copper coins from Spain called ‘maravedies.’ This stemmed from a time when Spanish dollars were used widely across the globe at many trading posts. Previously, these coins were called “quartiles” or “quatties.” At this time, in 1838, the emancipation of slaves increased the need for more coins. The Bank of Jamaica is the only producer of notes in the country and makes the coins out of cupronickel. The first truly Jamaican coins were pennies and halfpennies.

On 30 January 1968, the Jamaican dollar was voted to be converted to the decimal by the Jamaican House of Representatives. This changed the currency to the Jamaican dollar, replacing the pound that was used after the Spanish dollar. Coins for this new dollar began circulating on 8 September 1969. In 2009, the foreign exchange rates dropped to extreme lows and caused a large setback to the Jamaican economy.

Unlike most currencies, the Jamaican dollar was based on a half-pound sterling. Alternatively, other currencies were modelled after the U.S. dollar unit mainly, and the Spanish dollar unit that was used by Jamaica previously. Instead, the country followed the currency used by South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, but the dollar title remains closely linked to the U.S. dollar.

The Jamaican dollar has coins in the amounts of 1 cent, 10c, 25c, as well as $1, $5, $10, and $20. Notes are issued in amounts of $50, $100, $500, $1000 and $5000. The 1 cent coin is very rarely used.

For more information on foreign exchange rates, the Jamaican dollar, and other currencies, visit Best Exchange Rates UK.