ÖThe dram (դրամ; sign: ֏; abbreviation: դր.; ISO code: AMD) is the currency of Armenia, and is also used in the neighboring unrecognized Republic of Artsakh. It was historically subdivided into 100 luma (լումա). The Central Bank of Armenia is responsible for issuance and circulation of dram banknotes and coins, as well as implementing the monetary policy of Armenia.
The word "dram" translates into English as "money" and is cognate with the Greek drachma and the Arabic dirham, as well as the English weight unit dram. The first instance of a dram currency was in the period from 1199 to 1375, when silver coins called dram were issued.
On 21 September 1991, a national referendum proclaimed Armenia as a republic independent from the Soviet Union. The Central Bank of Armenia, established on 27 March 1993, was given the exclusive right of issuing the national currency.
In the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union attempts were made to maintain a common currency (the Russian rouble) among CIS states. Armenia joined this rouble zone. However it soon became clear that maintaining a currency union in the unstable political and economical circumstances of the post-Soviet states would be very difficult. The Rouble Zone effectively collapsed with the unilateral monetary reform in Russia, 1993. As a result, the states that were still participating (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Moldova, Armenia and Georgia) were 'pushed out' and forced to introduce separate currencies. Armenia was one of the last countries to do so when it introduced the dram on 22 November 1993.
Armenia is a unitary, multi-party, democratic nation-state with an ancient cultural heritage. The first Armenian state of Urartu was established in 860 BC, and by the 6th century BC it was replaced by the Satrapy of Armenia. The Kingdom of Armenia reached its height under Tigranes the Great in the 1st century BC and in the year 301 became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion. The ancient Armenian kingdom was split between the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires around the early 5th century. Under the Bagratuni dynasty, the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia was restored in the 9th century. Declining due to the wars against the Byzantines, the kingdom fell in 1045 and Armenia was soon after invaded by the Seljuk Turks. An Armenian principality and later a kingdom Cilician Armenia was located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea between the 11th and 14th centuries.