Algeria’s modern history begins with the invasion of the capital, Algiers and the subsequent takeover in 1830 by France. As a result, Algeria became a French overseas territory or as the French would call it, a “department”. So you will see this word stamped onto many banknotes used in France’s overseas colonies. France issued a single design for its overseas territories and have them stamped. France considered Algeria a special department given its proximity to mainland France. It set up the Bank of Algeria, but banknotes were printed by Banque de France and followed the traditional ‘French design’. The paper had an onion skin feel, very thin and nearly translucent. Banknotes are large with big, colorful vignettes of local people, landscapes and animals. Banque de France printed Algeria’s banknotes through the 1960’s, even after Algeria won its independence in 1962.
Algerian Banknotes Post France
In 1977, the design of Algerian banknotes dramatically changed. They were not longer colorful nor oversized. Fewer colors were utilized in the printing and as a result, the colors are much more muted. Large areas on the left side (looking at the front) were left free from ink to accommodate watermarks. In addition, more Islamic images are also used. In 2018, Algeria issued new designs for the 500 and 1000 dinar. For example, the 500 focused on technology and showed an Algerian satellite on the front and back. The 1000 dinar highlights the Grand Mosque of Algiers on the front and a weaving loom on the reverse. This juxtaposition of technology and traditional culture on its banknote series is consistent with the balance of this large nation. It is a technological and economic leader in North Africa while it is also an Islamic state.
In conclusion, Algerian banknotes appear to be ready for a refresh. I look forward to seeing how their designs pay homage to Algeria’s culture and people.