Jun 28, 2023 4:35 PM

Cambodia's history of currency notes is a reflection of the country's economic and political developments over time. The official currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian riel (KHR), and it has undergone several changes and transformations throughout its history.

In the early 20th century, Cambodia was under French colonial rule, and the currency used was the French Indochinese piastre. After gaining independence in 1953, Cambodia introduced its own currency called the Cambodian piastre. The piastre was subdivided into various denominations, including 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 piastres.

During the period of the Khmer Republic (1970-1975), when the country was under political turmoil, the government issued banknotes with the face value in riels but referred to as "new riel." However, these banknotes were not widely circulated.

In 1975, the Khmer Rouge regime took control of Cambodia and abolished currency notes. Money ceased to exist, and the economy was mainly based on barter and forced labor. It was a period of significant economic instability and suffering for the Cambodian people.

After the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979, the National Bank of Cambodia was established, and efforts were made to reintroduce a stable currency. The Cambodian riel was reintroduced as the official currency, and new banknotes were issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10000 riels.

Throughout the years, the design and security features of Cambodian riel banknotes have undergone changes. The banknotes feature prominent historical figures, national landmarks, and traditional symbols that represent Cambodia's rich cultural heritage.

In recent years, the use of Cambodian riel in daily transactions has been more common, although the US dollar is widely accepted and often used alongside the riel. Dual-currency circulation is prevalent, especially in urban areas and for larger transactions.

The National Bank of Cambodia plays a crucial role in managing the country's currency, ensuring stability, and implementing monetary policies to support economic growth. Efforts are made to maintain the integrity of the currency, including the introduction of new banknote designs and security features to prevent counterfeiting.

In summary, Cambodia's history of currency notes reflects its journey from colonial rule to independence, political upheavals, and subsequent efforts to stabilize and rebuild the economy. The Cambodian riel has emerged as the official currency, and banknotes have evolved to reflect the country's culture, history, and economic aspirations.