The United Arab Emirates dirham (Arabic: درهم, sign: د.إ; code: AED), also known as simply the Emirati dirham, is the currency of the United Arab Emirates. The term dirham is officially abbreviated “AED”, while unofficial abbreviations include “DH” or “Dhs.”. The dirham is subdivided into 100 fils (فلس).
For a wider history surrounding currency in the region, see British currency in the Middle East.
The name dirham is an Arabic word. Due to centuries of trade and usage of the currency, dirham survived through the Ottoman Empire.
The United Arab Emirates dirham was introduced on 19 May 1973. It replaced the Qatar and Dubai riyal at par. The Qatar and Dubai riyal had circulated since 1966 in all of the emirates except Abu Dhabi, where the dirham replaced the Bahraini dinar at 1 dinar = 10 dirham. Before 1966, all the emirates that were to form the UAE used the Gulf rupee. As in Qatar, the emirates briefly adopted the Saudi riyal during the transition from the Gulf rupee to the Qatar and Dubai riyal.
On 20 May 1973, the U.A.E. Currency Board introduced notes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 dirhams; a 1000 dirham note was issued on 3 January 1976. A second series of note was introduced in 1982 which omitted the 1 and 1000 dirham notes. 500 dirham notes were introduced in 1983, followed by 200 dirham in 1989. 1000 dirham notes were reintroduced in 2000. Banknotes are currently available in denominations of 5 (brown), 10 (green), 20 (light blue), 50 (purple), 100 (pink), 200 (green/brown), 500 (navy blue) and 1000 (greenish blue) dirhams.
The obverse texts are written in Arabic with numbers in Eastern Arabic numerals; the reverse texts are in English with numbers in Arabic numerals. The 200 dirham denomination is scarce as it was only produced in 1989; any circulating today come from bank stocks. The 200 dirham denomination has since been reissued and is now in circulation since late May 2008 – it has been reissued in a different colour; Yellow/Brown to replace the older Green/Brown. The United Arab Emirates Central Bank has released a new 50 dirham note. The security thread is a 3-mm wide, color-shifting windowed security thread with demetalized UAE 50, and it bears the new coat of arms which was adopted on 22 March 2008.
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