The present-day national currency of Ukraine is one of the youngest in the world. At the same time, the history of coinage and monetary circulation on the territory of Ukraine has been counted for more than a thousand years.
The oldest coins, stamped out on the Ukrainian lands, were called “emissions”. They were issued by Greek colonizers in the south of modern Ukraine in the 6th-4th centuries BC. These Greek coins were found in treasures and individual findings on the coast of the Black and Azov Seas. However, the range of their distribution is insignificant.
In later times, the South of Ukraine falls under the influence of the Roman Empire. A lot of Roman coins, which date from 2nd century CE were found there. Silver denarius dominated over all other monetary units. These coins were in circulation up to 5th century. The usage scale of Roman denarius was very significant. Sometimes several thousand of these coins were fixed in the findings.
In the 6th and 7th centuries, a small number of Byzantine coins appeared on the Ukrainian lands. They were silver and bronze, less golden.
Period of Kievan Rus’
From 8th century and by the end of the 10th century, Arabic coins (dirhem) appeared. Detection of treasures with Arabic coins on the territory of Ukraine shows that the main artery of eastern trade in Kievan Rus was the way by Dnieper and Donets through Chernihiv, Sumy, and Kharkiv lands.
During the era of the greatest power of the Kievan state, local princes began their own coinage. In the last quarter of the 10th century, the coinage of the oldest Ukrainian coins begins. The old Ukrainian money were named «zlatnyky» and «sriblyanyky». It was the time of Vladimir the Great (Prince of Kiev, during the reign of which Baptism of Kievan Rus’ took place). So, on the front side of the coin – Prince Vladimir was depicted on the throne and on the reverse side – a trident (the birthmark of the Rurik dynasty).
In the 12th-14th centuries Ukrainian word for money enters the so-called “coinless period” – the means of bargaining and exchange are often various commodity-money. For example:
- kuna – marten or squirrel skin;
- hryvna — silver ingot. It served the highest spheres of money transactions and became the prime means of paying tributes.
At the turn of the 13th-14th centuries in Ukraine, the term “ruble” begins to be used for ingots of silver. Most researchers associate it with the verb “rubyty”, which means “to chop” – the division of “hryvna-ingot” into smaller parts.
- Galician coins;
- Lviv kvartnyky or pivhroshy;
- Kiev coins;
- Prague hroshi;
- Lithuanian dinars;
- Polish hroshi;
- ducats and thalers (silver and gold coins, which fulfilled functions of a world money of the Middle Ages).
In the 17th century, according to some researchers, Bohdan Khmelnytsky (Ukrainian commander, State figure) aspired to implement an independent financial policy and liquidate the dominance of foreign coins. He issued his own coin as one of the main signs of statehood.
From the middle of the 18th century, Russian copper and silver coins circulated on the territory of Ukraine, which belonged to the Russian Empire.
During this period, decimal monetary system was introduced: the ruble, hryvenyk (ten-kopeck coin) and kopiyka.
Although, there were Polish and West European coins in circulation on Ukrainian lands up to thirties of the 18th century. From the beginning of the 19th century, all foreign coins were completely replaced by Russian ones, which over-complicated commodity-money relations between Ukraine and foreign countries.
On the lands of Ukraine, which were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austrian crowns were in circulation.
In 1917, immediately after the proclamation of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, first Ukrainian paper money were printed (in Berlin) with a nominal value of 100 hryvnas.
The monetary history of independent Ukraine begins in 1991 with tear-off coupons. After the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine remained with the ruble – money of a non-existent state. In January 1992, a temporary monetary unit was issued (in parallel with the ruble) – a “kupono-karbovanets’”.
In 1996, almost 850 years after the introduction of hryvna in Kievan Rus’, Ukraine introduced a national monetary unit — hryvnya. The National Bank issued new Ukrainian money with a nominal value of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 hryvnyas.
Some interesting facts about Ukrainian money
We have some more interesting and little-known facts about Ukrainian money:
- The national currency was called «hryvnya» from the name of the metal decoration, in the form of a medallion worn on the neck – as they say “na zahryvku”, which means “on the neck”;
- In 2013, the Ukrainian hryvnya was recognized the most beautiful currency in the world;
- Before 2016, Ukrainian money was made with the addition of cotton. In 2016, the Ukrainian flax was added to the banknote paper for the first time;
- Counterfeit money most of all are 50, 100 and 200 hryvnyas;
- Statistically, one Ukrainian has about 65 banknotes.