Currency - Bhutanese ngultrum

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Bhutanese ngultrum

The ngultrum (དངུལ་ཀྲམ, symbol: Nu., code: BTN) is the currency of the Kingdom of Bhutan. It is subdivided into 100 chhertum (ཕྱེད་ཏམ, spelled as chetrums on coins until 1979). The Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan is the minting authority of the Ngultrum banknotes and coins. The Ngultrum is currently pegged to the Indian rupee at parity.

Until 1789, the coins of the Cooch Behar mint circulated in Bhutan. Following this, Bhutan began issuing its own coins known as chetrum, mostly silver ½ rupees. Hammered silver and copper coins were the only types issued until 1929, when modern style silver ½ rupee coins were introduced, followed by bronze 1 paisa in 1931 (dated 1928). Nickel ½ rupee coins were introduced in 1950. While the Cooch Behar mint coins circulated alongside Bhutan's own coins, decimalization was introduced in 1957, when Bhutan's first issue of coins denominated in naya paisa. The 1966 issues were 25 naya paisa, 50 naya paisa and 1 rupee coins, struck in cupro-nickel.

While the Bhutanese government developed its economy in the early 1960s, monetization in 1968 led to the establishment of the Bank of Bhutan. As monetary reforms took place in 1974, the Ngultrum was officially introduced as 100 Chhetrum equal to 1 Ngultrum. The Ngultrum retained the peg to the Indian rupee at par, which the Bhutanese coins had maintained.

The term derives from the Dzongkha ngul, "silver" and trum, a Hindi loanword meaning "money."

The Ministry of Finance issued the first banknotes in 1974 denominated Nu.1, Nu.5, Nu,10 and Nu.100. This followed by the establishment of the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan as the central bank of Bhutan in 1982, which took over the authority to issue banknotes in 1983, replacing the authority of the Ministry of Finance.

In 1974, aluminium Ch.5 and Ch.10, aluminium-bronze Ch.20 and cupro-nickel Ch.25 and Nu.1 were introduced. The Ch.5 was square and the Ch.10 was scallop-shaped. A new coinage was introduced in 1979, consisting of bronze Ch.5 and Ch.10, and cupro-nickel Ch.25 and Ch.50 and Nu.1 and Nu.3. Aluminium-bronze Ch.25 were also issued dated 1979. The Ch.5 and Ch.10 have largely ceased circulating. Currently coins are available in denominations of Ch.20, Ch.25, Ch.50 and Nu.1.

On June 2, 1974, Nu.1, Nu.5 and Nu.10 notes were introduced by the Royal Government of Bhutan, followed by Nu.2, Nu.20, Nu.50, and Nu.100 in 1978. On August 4, 1982, the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan Act was enacted, although the RMA didn't began actual operations until November 1, 1983, and did not issue its own family of notes until 1986.



Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan' ( Druk Gyal Khap''), is a landlocked country in South Asia. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, it is bordered by Tibet Autonomous Region of China in the north, the Sikkim state of India and the Chumbi Valley of Tibet in the west, the Arunachal Pradesh state of India in the east, and the states of Assam and West Bengal in the south. Bhutan is geopolitically in South Asia and is the region's second least populous nation after the Maldives. Thimphu is its capital and largest city, while Phuntsholing is its financial center.

The independence of Bhutan has endured for centuries and it has never been colonized in its history. Situated on the ancient Silk Road between Tibet, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the Bhutanese state developed a distinct national identity based on Buddhism. Headed by a spiritual leader known as the Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the territory was composed of many fiefdoms and governed as a Buddhist theocracy. Following a civil war in the 19th century, the House of Wangchuck reunited the country and established relations with the British Empire. Bhutan fostered a strategic partnership with India during the rise of Chinese communism and has a disputed border with China. In 2008, Bhutan transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy and held the first election to the National Assembly of Bhutan. The National Assembly of Bhutan is part of the bicameral parliament of the Bhutanese democracy.


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