The History of the Libyan Dinar

The Libyan Dinar is the current form of currency in Libya. How it got to be that way stems from a rocky history. Libya spent most of its existence under rule by other empires. It survived two World Wars and four different empires before it finally claimed its independence from Italy in 1951 with the help of the United Nations. The new country officially became known as the United Kingdom of Libya.

Libya was very proud of its freedom after centuries of being ruled by other countries. The people of the country no longer wanted to be associated with Italy in any way and that meant getting rid of the lira as its official currency. As one of its first acts following Italian rule, Libya decided to create its own form of currency, and in 1951, the Libyan pound was introduced.

Libya enjoyed its use of the Libyan pound for 20 years until 1971 when it changed its official currency, once again, to the Libyan dinar. This change was made by the Central Bank of Libya (established in 1956) to help stabilize the economy and to fit in with the surrounding countries of Tunisia and Algeria.

This new Libyan currency took some time before it was fully integrated. Until 1975, they did not have any official dinar coinage. They used old coins based under the Libyan pound. When the new coins were finally introduced, they were known as dirhams at values of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 and bore the coat of arms of the Federation of Arab Republics. In 1979, these coins were followed by a second set of official coinage with a different design, this time with a horseman. More coins were issued in 2001, 2004, 2009, 2013, and 2014.

In between 1971 and 2002, Libyans used banknotes that came in the values of ¼, ½, 1, 5, and 10. In 2002, they created the 20 dinar note and in 2008, the 50 dinar note, which bore the face of Muammar Gaddafi, a prolific leader of the Libyan revolution and de facto ruler of Libya.

The original design of the dinar banknotes was short lived, as in in 2011, Libya had a civil war in which the Gaddafi government was overthrown. The Central Bank of Libya began withdrawing the 50, 20, and 1 pound notes so that they could revise the face of the note.  The new notes depict images of the revolutionaries, flags of freedom, the Al-Ateeq mosque, the Ouija oasis, and a lighthouse in Benghazi.

Through it’s precarious history, the Libyan dinar has fought for freedom, and today, it is shown in the imagery on the Lybian dinar. Visit our website to view our selection of Lybian currency.

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