There are six African countries known as Lusophone Africa, in which the Portuguese language is an official language: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe. Angola is the largest and might have the most difficult history.

Angola 200 Reis | 1892 | P-20B |
Source: Banknote World Educational

Angola Banknote History

Angola’s borders were not set until the 1920’s but it had banknotes for more than 60 years before that. The Province of Angola had many basic banknotes in the 1800s that looked more like checks than currency, with printing on just one side. So few were issued and the quality so poor that most of these Angolan Reals are lost to history. Beginning in 1909, the banknotes were printed by Bradbury and Wilkinson. The designs and themes typical of the era. 

Changes Throughout History

In 1914, Angola added Centavo issued by Banco Nacional Ultramarino. As the issuer for colonial Portuguese banknotes, this bank created some of the nicest banknotes of the early 20th century. For example, the 1923 50 Angolan Centavo (P-63) is a great piece. The front has scenes of goddesses and the reverse has a detailed vignette of exploration and colonization. In 1928 the Junta de Moeda replaced the escudo with the Angolar. There were two issuances – dated 1926 and 1927. This name lasted until 1956 when the name was switched back to the escudo when Angola was fighting for independence.

Angola 100,000 Kwanzas | 1995 | P-139 |
Source: Banknote World

From 1961 to 1975 Angolans fought in a proxy war between the US and the Soviet Union supported by Cuba. In 1975 they declared peace. As a result Angola became independent and elected its first president, Agostinho Neto. They also changed the currency to the Kwanza, named after Cuanza River. Banknote design changed dramatically from Euro colonial centric to Africa military and African flora and fauna. Like many countries in the region, Angola experienced significant financial challenges and hyperinflation. Having to replace the Kwanza with the Kwanza reajustado in 1995 and then the New Kwanza in 1999. Agostinho Neto has remained on nearly all banknotes since independence.

Angola 200 Kwanza | 2020 |
Source: Banknote News

At the end of July 2020, Angola issued the first note a new series of Polymer Kwanza banknotes. It is the 200 Kwanzas. In addition Agostinho Neto remains prominently on the front. The 200 Kwanza also looks a lot like Nigerian Polymer notes. 

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