About the Kuwaiti Dinar

Country: 	Kuwait
Currency:	Dinar
Alias:	Kuwaiti dinar
ISO 4217 CODES:	KWD/414
Symbol:	KD

The dinar is the national currency of State of Kuwait, a small Persian Gulf nation with a population of approximately 2.4 million people. By Arab standards, Kuwait is a relatively new country, having gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1961 after enjoying long-time status as a protectorate. The name Kuwait is an Arabic term meaning “small fort” – an important notion given the country’s strained relations with Iran and Iraq in recent history. Kuwait’s economy is primarily driven by its vast government-controlled oil industry, even though the majority of its oil workers are not Kuwaiti citizens.

Background of the Kuwaiti Dinar

Up until 1960, a form of the Indian rupee known as the Persian Gulf rupee was in widespread use throughout Kuwait. The dinar was first introduced in 1960 as part of a major overhaul of the currency system in anticipation of Kuwait’s independence from the United Kingdom, which was formally granted in the following year.

Oil has always been an important resource for Kuwait’s economy, and the country’s oil reserves are believed to be second only to those of Saudi Arabia. The presence of crude was first detected in 1911, and the first oil wells were constructed in 1936. 1951 marked the first banner year for Kuwaiti crude, and the government soon began reaping the rewards from oil exports.

Kuwait has had rather tumultuous relations with some of its neighbors over the years. Soon after Kuwait declared its independence in 1961, Iraq reasserted its long-standing claims on the emirate and threatened to occupy the country, but was promptly dissuaded by Egypt. During the Iran-Iraq war that started in 1980, Kuwait sided with Iraq, and suffered reprisals from Iran in the form of terrorist bombings. Iraq then invaded Kuwait at the outset of the first Gulf War 1990-91, only to be driven out by a coalition of forces operating with the authority of the United Nations.

Kuwait has also endured some turmoil of its own making. The country’s unregulated stock market, the Souq al-Manakh, collapsed in 1982, leaving in its wake approximately US$90 billion in losses.

The dinar is divided into 1,000 fils. Denominations for coins are 5 fils, 10 fils, 20 fils, 50 fils and 100 fils. Denominations for banknotes are KD 1/4, KD 1/2, KD 1, KD 5, KD10 and KD 20.

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