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Jamaican Dollar (JMD) Profile

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Currency name: 
Currency code: 
Currency symbol: 

$,or J$

Subunit: 
1/100, cent, symbol: : ¢ or c
Coins freq used: 
J$1, J$5, J$10, J$20, 25¢
Coins rarely used: 
1¢, 10¢
Banknotes freq used: 
J$50, J$100, J$500, J$1000
Banknotes rarely used: 
J$5000
Central bank: 
Bank of Jamaica (www.boj.org.jm)
Currency users: 
Currency user map: 

Jamaican dollar users

The Jamaican dollar has been the currency of Jamaica since 1969. Jamaica is an island country locates in the Caribbean Sea. It was originally part of the British West Indies and declared independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962. The Jamaican dollar was used to be the currency of Cayman Islands which introduced its own currency of Cayman Islands dollar (Code: KYD) in 1972. Cayman Islands were governed by Jamaica until 1962 when Jamaica became an independent Commonwealth realm and Cayman Islands became a separate British overseas territory.  The other three dependencies of Jamaica were Turks and Cacos Islands (now British overseas territory), Bay Islands (now part of Honduras), and British Honduras (now the independent nation of Belize).

Former Jamaica dependencies.
Territories Being Jamaica dependencies Currently currency Code Currency being used Notes
Cayman Islands (UK) July 8, 1670 - July 4, 1959 Cayman Islands dollar KYD since 1972 Pegged with the U.S.dollar
at 1 KYD = 1.2 USD
Turks and Calcos (UK) April 4, 1873 - July 4, 1959 the U.S.dollar USD   Since 25 May 2013, he Bahamian dollar will be used alongside the U.S.dollar.
Bay Islands June 15, 1852 - July 14, 1860 Honduran lempira HNL since 1931 The U.S.dollar is widely accepted on Bay Islands.
British Honduras 1742- 1884, now the independent nation of Belize Belize dollar BZD since 1885 1. Belize was independent from the U.K. in 1981.
2. The Belize dollar is pegged with the U.S.dollar at 1 USD=2 BZD since 1978.

Notes (exchange rate as per: February 20th, 2013)
a.   1 USD=19.9324 HNL (Honduran Iempira)
b.   1 USD= 2.01556 BZD (Belize dollar)

Jamaica became a Commonwealth realm once it gained independence from the United Kingdom.

A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign country within the Commonwealth of Nations which now consists of 16 Commonwealth realms of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and the United Kingdom. Except for Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom itself, the other fourteen realms are former British colonies. The United Kingdom is the original realm from which other realms became independent and Papua New Guinea obtained independence from Australia on 16 September 1975.The first Commonwealth realm is Canada which adopted the Act of Statute of Westminster 1931 and granted full autonomy, followed by Australia and New Zealand.  Each later twelve realms (except the United Kingdom itself) were created by an instant grant of independence. 

The Commonwealth of Nations, also known as the Commonwealth or British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organization consisting of 54 independent member states which mostly were part of the British Empire.

Sixteen Commonwealth realms (Established Since 1931 -present)
Realms Since Location-Continent Currency name Code Currency notes
Antigua and Barbuda 1981 North America East Caribbean dollar XCD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1USD = 2.70 XCD
Australia 1942 <2> Oceania Australian dollar AUD Pegged by Tuvaluan dollar and Kiribati dollar at par
Bahamas 1973 North America Bahamian dollar BSD Pegged with the U.S. dollar at par
Barbados 1966 North America Barbadian dollar BBD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1 USD= 2 BZD
Belize 1981 North America Belize dollar BZD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1 USD = 2 BZD
Canada 1931 <2> North America Canadian dollar CAD  
Grenada 1974 North America East Caribbean dollar XCD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1USD = 2.70 XCD
Jamaica 1962 North America Jamaican dollar JMD  
New Zealand 1947 <2> Oceania New Zealand dollar NZD Pegged at par by Cook Islands dollar, Niue dollar and Pitcairn Islands dollar.
Papua New Guinea 1975 <3> Oceania Papua New Guinean kina PGK  
Saint Kitts and Nevis 1983 North America East Caribbean dollar XCD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1USD = 2.70 XCD
Saint Lucia 1979 North America East Caribbean dollar XCD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1USD = 2.70 XCD
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1979 North America East Caribbean dollar XCD Pegged with the U.S. dollar
at 1USD = 2.70 XCD
Solomon Islands 1978 Oceania Solomon Islands dollar SBD  
Tuvalu 1978 Oceania Australian dollar AUD alongside New Zealand dollar from 25 May 2013 which is pegged with AUD at par.
United Kingdom <1> Europe Pound sterling GBP  

Jamaican dollar history

Jamaican dollar (JMD) was introduced in 1969 a few years after Jamaica obtained its independence from The United Kingdom in 1962. Since 1840 and the years between 1962 and 1969, Jamaican pound was used as official currency by Jamaica, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Cayman Islands. 

Jamaica was taken over from Spanish and became British colony since 1655. So the earlier money in Jamaica was Spanish dollars. Since 1825, the British Empire was trying to introducing the British coinage into all the British colonies. In 1839, an act was passed among British colonies declaring that only British coinage would be legal tender in Jamaica as of December 31, 1840. The Jamaican pound was circulated as a mixture of British currency and local issues and was always equal to the British pound. The Jamaican pound was subdivided into 20 shilling (symbol: s) or 240 penny(symbol: d). The idea of decimalizing the currency by introducing the dollar (worth 10 shillings, or half pound) was brought up on January 30, 1968 and eventually was introduced and went into circulation on September 8, 1969. The Jamaican dollar and the Cayman Islands dollar were both introduced worth half pound sterling. This is different from all the other dollars in the British West Indies that either began on the U.S.dollar or the Spanish dollar unit.

Jamaican dollar coins and banknotes

Jamaican dollar is subdivided into 100 cents.

Currently in circulation coins are in denominations of 25cents, 1, 5, 10, 20 dollars, banknotes are in denominations of 50, 100, 500, 1000 dollars. The small denominations of 1 cent and 10 cents coins, the big denomination of 5000 dollars banknotes are not frequently used.

Jamaican dollar and currencies of British West Indies

The British West Indies were part of the British Empire and were the Islands in and around the Caribbean (the region consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and the surrounding coasts). After Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, most colonies of British Indies gained independence from the United Kingdom or became the British territories. For better economic development, good governance, and dependences in the East Caribbean, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) was created on 18 June 1981 which consists of 9 members and using the common currency of East Caribbean dollar (XCD).

Currencies of present day nations which formerly were British West Indies
British west Indies West Indies Federation <2> Independence
from UK
Present-day Currency Currency status between 1839-1955 <5> and before independence
Antigua and Barbuda <1> Yes since 1981 East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Pegged with U.S dollar at 1 USD=2.70 XCD
Antigua and Barbuda were members of East Caribbean group and used sterling coinage with a mixture of sterling and Spanish dollar accounts both at a fixed exchange rate of $1 =4s 2d until 1949. The group formed a currency of British West Indies dollar existed from 1949 to 1965(when it was changed name to East Caribbean dollar, XCD).
Dominica <1> Yes since 1978 East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Pegged with U.S dollar at 1 USD=2.70 XCD
Dominica was a member of east Caribbean group and used sterling coinage with a mixture of sterling and Spanish dollar accounts both at a fixed exchange rate of $1 =4s 2d until 1949. The group formed a currency of British West Indies dollar existed from 1949 to 1965(when it was changed name to East Caribbean dollar, XCD).
Grenada <1> Yes since 1966 East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Pegged with U.S dollar at 1 USD=2.70 XCD
Grenada was a member of east Caribbean group and used sterling coinage with a mixture of sterling and Spanish dollar accounts both at a fixed exchange rate of $1 =4s 2d until 1949. TThe group formed a currency of British West Indies dollar existed from 1949 to 1965(when it was changed name to East Caribbean dollar, XCD).
Saint Lucia <1> Yes since 1979 East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Pegged with U.S dollar at 1 USD=2.70 XCD
Saint Lucia was a member of east Caribbean group and used sterling coinage with a mixture of sterling and Spanish dollar accounts both at a fixed exchange rate of $1 =4s 2d until 1949. The group formed a currency of British West Indies dollar existed from 1949 to 1965(when it was changed name to East Caribbean dollar, XCD).
Saint Kitts and Nevis <1> Yes since 1983 East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Pegged with U.S dollar at 1 USD=2.70 XCD
Saint kitts and Nevis were members of East Caribbean group and used sterling coinage with a mixture of sterling and Spanish dollar accounts both at a fixed exchange rate of $1 =4s 2d until 1949. The group formed a currency of British West Indies dollar existed from 1949 to 1965(when it was changed name to East Caribbean dollar, XCD).
Anguilla (UK) <1> Yes  <3> British territory East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Pegged with U.S dollar at 1 USD=2.70 XCD
Anguilla was a member of East Caribbean group and used sterling coinage with a mixture of sterling and Spanish dollar accounts both at a fixed exchange rate of $1 =4s 2d until 1949. The group formed a currency of British West Indies dollar existed from 1949 to 1965(when it was changed name to East Caribbean dollar, XCD).
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines <1> Yes since 1979 East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Pegged with U.S dollar at 1 USD=2.70 XCD
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were members of East Caribbean group and used sterling coinage with a mixture of sterling and Spanish dollar accounts both at a fixed exchange rate of $1 =4s 2d until 1949. The group formed a currency existed from 1949 to 1965(was changed name to East Caribbean dollar, XCD).
Montserrat (UK) <1> Yes British territory East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Pegged with U.S dollar at 1 USD=2.70 XCD
Montserrat was a member of East Caribbean group and used sterling coinage with a mixture of sterling and Spanish dollar accounts both at a fixed exchange rate of $1 =4s 2d until 1949. The group formed a currency of British West Indies dollar existed from 1949 to 1965(when it was changed name to East Caribbean dollar, XCD).
Barbados Yes since 1966 Barbados dollar (BBD)
Pegged with U.S.dollar at 1 USD=2 BBD
Barbados was a member of East Caribbean group and used sterling coinage with a mixture of sterling and Spanish dollar accounts both at a fixed exchange rate of $1 =4s 2d until 1949. The group formed a currency of British West Indies dollar existed from 1949 to 1965(when it was changed name to East Caribbean dollar, XCD). Barbados introduced the Barbados dollar in 1973 and replaced XCD at par.
Trinidad and Tobago Yes since 1962 Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD) Trinidad and Tobago was a member of East Caribbean group, and used sterling coinage with a mixture of sterling and Spanish dollar accounts both, at a fixed exchange rate of $1= 4s 2d. The group formed a currency of British West Indies dollar existed from 1949 to 1965(when it was changed name to East Caribbean dollar, XCD). Trinidad and Tobago left and introduced its own currency in 1964.
British Virgin Islands (UK) <1> / British territory United States dollar (USD) British Virgin Islands was a member of East Caribbean group and used sterling as official currency, however the Danish money and later U.S dollars were widely used alongside. The British west Indies dollar was introduced into British Virgin Islands in 1951. Later since 1961 the U.S.dollar was adopted as official currency.
Bahamas / since 1973 Bahamian dollar (BSD).
Pegged with USD at par.
Bahamas used pound from 1840 to 1966 and allowed the U.S.dollar unofficially being circulated alongside sterling. The Bahamian dollar was introduced in 1966. Both BHD and USD are accepted interchangeably in Bahamas.
British Honduras <4> / since 1981 <4> Belize dollar (BZD) British Honduras used pound sterling from 1840 to 1885 when British Honduras dollar (based on U.S.dollar) was introduced. Currency name was changed following British Honduras was officially changed name to Belize in 1973.
British Guiana) <4> / since 1966 Guyanese dollar (GYD) British Guiana was the only one using dollar accounts throughout the period 1839 to 1950. As a member of the East Caribbean group (withdrew in 1966), British Guiana used British West Indies dollar till 1965 then East Caribbean dollar till 1966, and eventually introduced Guyanese dollar.
Bermuda (UK) / British territory Bermuda dollar (BMD), alongside the U.S.dollar (USD) Bermuda used pound sterling as official currency from 1842 to 1970 and didn't mix using the U.S.dollar like the Bahamas which allowed the U.S.dollar circulated unofficially alongside sterling. Bermuda dollar was introduced in 1970 and changed reserves to the U.S.dollar from sterling.
Jamaica Yes since 1962 Jamaican dollar (JMD) Jamaica used sterling from 1840 to 1969 and then Jamaican dollar was introduced at a descendent sterling unit of "half-pound".
Cayman Islands (UK) Yes British territory Cayman Islands dollar (KYD)
Pegged with the U.S.dollar at 1 KYD=1.2 USD
Cayman Islands was dependency of Jamaica until 1962 and followed a similar course. Its own currency of Cayman Islands dollar was introduced in 1972, at a descendent sterling unit of "half-pound".
Turks and Caicos Islands (UK) Yes British territory United States dollar(USD) Turks and Caicos Islands was dependency of Jamaica until 1959 and followed a smilar course- used sterling from 1840 to 1969, but changed to use the U.S.dollar since 1969.

Notes:
<1>. Member state of OECS, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, was created in 1981.
<2>. The West Indies Federation was a short-lived political union that existed from 3 January 1958 to 31 May 1962 comprising 12 members.
<3>. Anguilla seceded from Saint Kitts and Nevis in 1981 (being under controlled since 1824).
<4>. British Honduras was officially renamed Belize in 1973. British Honduras was renamed as Guyana right after obtained independence in 1966.
<5>. From around 1840 to 1955, most of the British West Indies were using sterling coinage, meanwhile there was a mixed usage of sterling and dollar accounts both. Eventually all territories moved towards the dollar accounts with decimal fractional coinage.