The Guyana dollar is the currency of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Guyana for short. Its ISO code is GYD. It has been the country’s currency since 1839 and has an eventful history behind it. Its symbol is G $. Often times, however, just $ is written in shops.
History of the Guyanese currency
Originally introduced to act as a transition currency from the Dutch guilder to the British pound sterling, the Guyana dollar was found in the colonies of the Commonwealth Caribbean. Before that, “British-Guyana” consisted of several colonies, all of which belonged to the Netherlands. In 1815 the area was transferred to the British Crown and in 1831 united to form British Guyana. Dutch currencies were still in circulation, as were Spanish currencies. The British first introduced various alternatives to the Dutch guilder. In 1839, Spanish silver coins were also officially accepted as a means of payment.
The Guyana dollar was intended to temporarily replace both currencies and was therefore easy to exchange for them. A peculiarity of the Guyana dollar, which it also shared with other currencies of the Caribbean crown colonies, was to maintain the so-called “groats”. These were particularly large silver 4-pence pieces that were no longer printed in the United Kingdom from 1855, but continued to enjoy great popularity outside of it. From 1917 to 1945 these coins were only available for Guyana.
British Guiana Bank and Colonial Bank both introduced 5, 20 and 100 dollar paper money into the country. The British Guiana Bank stopped doing this in 1909, the Royal Bank of Canada partially took over this task. She issued 5, 20, 100 dollar bills. That ended in 1942 and the whole currency was exchanged for the West Indian dollar in 1951. In 1955 this currency was decimalized and exchanged for the East Caribbean dollar in 1965.
In 1966 Guyana gained independence and it was time again for a new currency. The Guyana dollar was introduced and exchanged at face value for the East Caribbean dollar. In the same year, banknotes were issued in 1, 5, 10 and 20 dollar bills. Between 1988 and 1992, $ 20, $ 100 and $ 500 were made, and between 1996 and 1999, the $ 1000 note was introduced. Finally, in 2013, the $ 5,000 banknote was added, which is no longer issued due to the risk of forgery. Due to inflation, the cent coins are no longer in use today, and dollar coins are also rarely found.
Exchange into the Guyanese currency
Local exchange offices, so-called Cambios, and banks change Euros into Guyana dollars. As a rule, you get the best rate if you withdraw money in the local currency with your credit card in a bank.