When did the Ukrainian hryvnia appear?
Today, the official currency of Ukraine is the hryvnia, and as you know, it has a very rich and centuries-old history. This monetary and weight meter began to be used in ancient times in Russia and other Slavic states. It was used as a measure of weight, as well as accounts in trade or when paying tribute in the VIII-IX centuries. For all this time, the meaning of the word “hryvnia” has changed several times.
If you believe the history of the hryvnia, it originally meant silver and gold jewelry, which was made in the form of a hoop and flaunted on the neck – “nape”. Accordingly, for this, these decorations received the name “hryvnia”. At that time, the hryvnia was an indicator of luxury, these decorations could only be found among well-to-do people, while they were worn not only by women, but also by men. Such hryvnias were made of various precious metals: bronze, silver or gold. Later, the hryvnia was used to accumulate wealth, as evidenced by numerous archaeological finds. These finds once belonged to the feudal elite and church leaders.
Ukraine has spent much of its history divided between rival empires. Up until the 20th century, the country remained divided between the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires, using the respective currency of each country. Until that time, the Ukrainian state did not have its own currency, the production of gold and silver money was started during the reign of the Grand Duke of Kiev Vladimir. This money was the first state banknotes, they were imprinted with the image of a trident, which was a symbol of the power of the rulers of Kiev.
The main image of the front part of the coin was a well-known trident and a prince sitting on a throne. The whole picture was accompanied by the phrase “Vladimir on the table”, on the reverse of the coin there was an image of Christ and the expression “And behold his gold”. The Grand Duke did not follow the example of the West, which used other people’s images and inscriptions to produce coins. The work of the Great Vladimir on the part of minting coins was continued by Svyatopolk the Cursed and the Tmutarakan princes-Yaroslav and Oleg.
Since the XI century, the currency of Kievan Rus has been hryvnia. The money had the shape of a hexagon, was cast mainly from silver, its weight was about 150 grams. This money was circulated before the arrival of the Tatar-Mongols. Along with the Kiev hryvnia, Novgorod hryvnia was also in circulation. Since the middle of the 13th century, Novgorod coins have been used everywhere in Ancient Russia. Novgorod grivnas differed from Kiev copies in shape and weight. The Novgorod grivna was a silver stick weighing 240 grams. Such a calculation tool was in use until the end of the XV century. When switching from the” Kiev “to the” Novgorod “hryvnia, the “Chernihiv” one appeared. It was similar in appearance to the Kiev one, but by weight it was like the Novgorod version.
What is the history of Ukrainian money?
Due to feudal fragmentation, the production of coins in Kievan Rus was suspended from the XII to XIV centuries. The means of payment were silver ingots, which were commonly referred to as “hryvnia”.
In the middle of the 16th century, the circulation of coins began to revive again, and their issue briefly resumed. In Lviv, chervonoruski polugroshi were issued, and in Kiev, Vladimir Olgerdovich’s pieces of silver were minted. Thus, the hryvnia ceased to be present in circulation, they were used as a monetary and accounting concept.
In the XIII century, half of the hryvnia was called the ruble or karbovanets (in Ukrainian), and it gradually ousted the hryvnia from circulation, took its place, and became first a new monetary unit, and then the main unit of the Russian monetary system.
In the XV century, due to the increase in the production of coins, as well as their constant deterioration, the currency lost its value as a monetary unit of payment. Now it was only a unit of mass, which existed as a standard for the weight of the “hryvnia” until the XVIII century.
Bogdan Khmelnitsky wanted to resume minting his own money. He attempted to conduct an independent financial policy during the Liberation War of 1648-1654. Whether Hetman Khmelnitsky was able to fulfill his plan is not known to anyone, since written notes were not confirmed in archaeological finds.
Since what year is the hryvnia in Ukraine?
The introduction of the national currency into circulation, as well as the creation of its own banking system, took place during the national liberation movement in 1917-1921, in turn, these events were of great importance in the formation of the Ukrainian state. The Central Rada adopted a law on the transformation of the Kiev branch of the State Bank of Russia. Since 22.12.1917, the Ukrainian State Bank starts functioning. The first director of the financial institution was Mikhail Krivetsky, who signed the first banknote.
The sketch of the banknote with a face value of 100 karbovants was designed by the artist Georgy Narbut, who also became famous for the design of the coat of arms of Ukraine. He integrated the trident into the composition of the sketch, as it was a feature of the oldest monetary unit in Ukraine. Thus, he captured the history of the country on the Ukrainian hryvnia.
Throughout the 20th century, the Ukrainian currency has been the karbovanets. Translated from Ukrainian, the name comes from the word “minting”. One karbovantse contained 17,424 parts of pure gold. Karbovans made in the era of the UPR are recognized as the most detailed and artistic money ever adopted in Ukraine. The one hundred karbovants banknote was printed on plain paper without any protection, which led to its forgery in large print runs.
After Ukraine declared itself an independent state, on 01.03.1918, the Central Rada signed the law on the official Ukrainian monetary unit. The hryvnia was divided into one hundred components, and it was equal to 0.5 karbovantsam. In 1918, banknotes were printed in Germany. During this time, banknotes with various denominations from 2 to 1000 hryvnias were issued.
When did the hryvnia appear in circulation?
In Ukraine, the hryvnia appeared on October 17, 1918, as a result of monetary reform.
In the middle of 1918, Ukraine was ruled by the last hetman in history — it was Pavel Skoropadsky. It retained the nominal value of the previous government: for 1 hryvnia they gave 1/2 karbovanets or 100 shakhs. At that time, there were different currencies on the market: the royal karbovanets, the Ukrainian karbovanets, the hryvnia, the Odessa karbovanets of local coinage, the German mark and coins of the Russian Empire made of silver.
The new government led by Skoropadsky entered into an alliance with the Austro-German occupation forces, which served as a guarantee of the integrity of the Ukrainian state. New money was also needed to continue reforming the state. That is why the Central Rada headed by Skoropadsky ordered new banknotes from Germany. During 1918, banknotes were issued in Berlin in various denominations from 2 to 2000 hryvnias.
Gergiy Narbut has always been involved in making money in Ukraine, this time he designed only the design of the 100 hryvnia banknote. It depicted a worker with a hammer and a peasant with a sickle, recognizable Soviet symbols, on the background of a wreath of flowers and fruits.
Despite Skoropadsky’s efforts, his government failed to eliminate what was left of the previous authorities — a huge public debt. In addition, the Rada had to support the current state administration, so printing a large amount of money was inevitable. As a result, this provoked inflation and a surge in speculation on various currencies in all regions of Ukraine.
At the end of 1918, power changed again-Skoropadsky was overthrown by the Directorate of Ukraine, headed by Vladimir Vinnichenko and Simon Petliura. The new government decided to return the hryvnia as the main Ukrainian currency. In particular, the Directory planned to increase the gold content in minted coins: local residents were required to provide all available gold and silver for this purpose. All monuments to the Russian tsars made of copper were planned to be melted down and turned into small money. Taras Shevchenko was supposed to be depicted on the gold hryvnia, and the House of the Central Council was supposed to be depicted on silver coins.
However, these plans did not come true — the Bolshevik offensive in 1920 led to the ban on all Ukrainian money. In total, from 1917 to 1921, 24 types of banknotes were used on the territory of Ukraine.
Subsequent developments led to another monetary reform. The hryvnia was replaced first by Soviet chervonets, and in 1924 by Soviet karbovans. The authorities introduced a new exchange rate, where 1 Soviet karbovanets was equal to 1/10 chervonets. The Soviet karbovanets became the main currency used in Ukraine until the outbreak of World War II.
In the first years of the war, the Germans allowed the use of karbovanets, along with the Reichsmark. At the official exchange rate, 10 karbovans was equal to 1 Reichsmark. In 1942, the Nazi occupiers opened a Central Bank of Issue in Rivne, the capital of the Reichskommissariat of Ukraine. Later, a new currency was issued — the Reich Karbovanets in banknotes of different denominations, each with watermarks.
The banknotes were printed in Berlin on high-quality paper. On the reverse side of the banknote was depicted “happy Ukrainian people”, German inscriptions and an eagle with a swastika. The notes read in German and Ukrainian: “Falsification of banknotes is punishable by prison.” In 1944, when the Red Army liberated the occupied territories, there was a rapid devaluation of the currency. Imperial karbovanets were not accepted in the liberated territories, both for trade and exchange operations.
After the Second World War, the Soviet ruble was used as the official currency in Ukraine. It is worth noting that the ruble is officially translated as “Karbovanets”. The new name of the currency appeared on price tags in stores of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic.
In the fall of 1990, when the Soviet Union was collapsing, Ukraine introduced a one-time coupon as an additional currency. Most Ukrainians still remember how they used one-time coupons before 1991, when they needed to buy shoes, clothes or basic necessities.
Until 1991, such a coupon was issued once a month. Ukrainians had to stamp or seal a coupon at the checkout to pay for goods. The introduction of coupons meant that two currencies were now used in Ukraine. In 1992, the entire cash flow was filled with coupon karbovanets. Although at first it was planned that it would replace the official currency only for 3-4 months, but in fact it was used for several years. Probably many of you remember that in 1992-1995-ies coupon-karbovanets experienced hyperinflation.
The situation in the country required a new stable reform, which is why in September 1996 the hryvnia was recognized as the national currency of Ukraine. At first, the Soviet version was taken as the standard for the production of banknotes with a face value from 1 to 200 hryvnias, later it was decided to use American analogues. The National Bank of Ukraine issued banknotes in different denominations.
The first one-kopeck coin was minted in Luhansk. Coins were also issued in different denominations from 1 kopeck to 50. All issued coins are divided into 4 different epochs.
Despite the fact that changes were made in the design, banknotes of different denominations retained the appearance and personalities that everyone knows. For example, 1 hryvnia depicts Vladimir the Great, 100 hryvnia is recognizable by the image of the writer Taras Shevchenko, 200 hryvnia depicts the writer Lesya Ukrainka. The highest denomination banknote, 500 hryvnias, features the philosopher Grigory Skovoroda on the obverse and the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy on the reverse.
Currently, the design of the Ukrainian national currency has watermarks for protection, as well as many complex elements that are interesting to explore. Also, modern banknotes are produced using new technologies, since some time they are printed with the addition of flax.