For this World Money Monday, we’re traveling down South to Central America where we’re going to explore El Salvador. El Salvador is the smallest yet more dense country in Central America with about 6.5 million people residing there. Over the last decade El Salvador has had 2 different currencies: The Peso (later turned Colon) and now uses the US Dollar. The Colon currency is still in circulation today alongside the US dollars. Their banknotes before converting to USD paid a lot of homage to Christopher Columbus, Sailing, and monuments symbolic to El Salvador and their culture.
World Money Monday: Background Information
With a country full of culture, the colorful story of the Colon is no surprise. Rewinding back to October 1st, 1892, the government of President Carlos Ezeta, decided to rename the El Salvadorian Pesos “colón” that mean “Discover”. This directly comes from Christopher Columbus. The colón replaced the peso at in the year 1919. On June 19th, 1934 the Central Bank was created as the government body responsible for monetary policy and the sole body authorized to issue currency in the nation. On January 1st, 2001 under the government of President Francisco Flores, the Law of Monetary Integration went into full effect and finally allowed the circulation of the U.S. dollar in the country of El Salvador. It’s really awesome that the Colon although isn’t necessarily being made anymore, is still in circulation along the US Dollar.
Even with El Salvador being the smallest country geographically in Central America, El Salvador has the third largest economy in Central America. They hit a Global Recession in 2009 and real GDP contracted by 3.5%. The economy slowly began to recover in 2010 on the back of improved export figures. Today, El Salvador economy is in a much better position than previous years, however, there is still some opportunity.
200 Colones El Salvador’s Banknote from 1998
One of the last banknotes that was printed before El Salvador transferred to USD currency was the 200 Colones El Salvador banknote from 1998. On the Obverse there is photo of the Monument to the Divine Savior of the World. The iconic statue of Christ on the globe sphere of planet earth. Unfortunately, the statue was damaged in the 1986 San Salvador earthquake. After a couple years it was restored. Along with the statue, the coat of arms and rural mountains perfectly showcase the natural and rustic beauty of El Salvador.
On the reverse, there is a picture of Christopher Columbus who is not the official person to discover El Salvador, but some believe he is. As well as 3 sailing boats to speak to the significance of him coming or discovering El Salvador. Along with those photos, there is a print of the world map and other small security features such as serial numbers and signatures.