A Brief History of the Tunisian Dinar

It’s a small world, but there are still a lot of countries on its face, many of which you may know nothing about. Tunisia is one of those countries. It has an interesting history, even though it is not widely known. You can come to learn a lot about the various continents and their occupants by understanding the history of their currency. A large part of Tunisia’s history has to do with the history of its currency, the Tunisian Dinar.

Tunisia is a small country on the northern part of the African continent, just across the Mediterranean Sea from Italy. Its close proximity to Europe possibly explains the reason that France was the dominating force for most of its existence.

While under French rule, the people of Tunisia used the franc as their medium of exchange, but when they gained their independence from France in 1956, it was time for a change. As anyone who studies history knows, a major statement of independence comes when a country gains its own central bank and currency.

Two years after Tunisia gained independence from France, the Central Bank of Tunisia was established. After much planning and preparation, the Tunisian dinar was declared the official form of currency for Tunisia in 1960. Its value was originally tied to the franc, with 1 dinar equaling 1000 francs. However, to further their independence from France, the Central Bank of Tunisia chose to tie the dinar to the U.S. dollar instead.

The original value of the dinar to the U.S. dollar was 1 dinar to .42 dollars, but the high value was short lived. In 1964, the dinar’s value dropped, and it has continued to drop slowly over the years. Today, the value is 1 Tunisian dinar to .52 dollars.

The current currency code for the Tunisian dinar is TND, though it is not always referred to in that way. When talking about the Tunisian dinar, many people use the code DT instead. This stems from the primary French language in the country. DT is short for the French name for the money “Dinar Tunisien.” Though it is talked about this way in casual settings, the foreign exchange market will use its official title.

The current circulating dinar coins include values of 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 milimes, and 1/2, 1, and 5 dinars. Circulating bank notes consist of 5, 10, 20, and 30 dinar notes.

As an interesting fact, it is illegal to import and export Tunisian dinar. If you were to visit Tunisia, you would be asked to exchange all of your dinar currency for another currency before leaving the country, with a limit of 3,000 dinars for exchange. In fact, your bags may be subject to a routine search to ensure that you are not smuggling any currency.

And that is how the Tunisian dinar came to be today.

Leave a Comment