Azerbaijan is nestled at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe bounded by Russia, the Caspian Sea, Iran, Armenia, and Georgia. Its exclave, Nakhichevan, lies in its southwest and is enclosed by Armenia, Iran, and Turkey.

It was a member of the short-lived Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic but declared its independence in 1918 and became the region’s first secular democratic predominantly-Muslim nation. The country joined the Soviet Union as Azerbaijan SSR in 1922 and broke away in 1991.

Azerbaijan’s economy relies heavily on the oil industry. With the Production-Sharing Arrangement (PSA) with the Azerbaijan International Operating Company in place, oil production rose up in 1997. Since the 20th century, the country was the largest oil producer in the world. Its growth from 2006 to 2008 was because of its booming oil exports as well as the growth in the banking, construction, and real estate industries. Even with the plunge in oil price and the declined growth in the construction sector, Azerbaijan’s growth was still maintained at over 9% in 2009. However, its growth slacked down to 3.7% in 2010, although it was less affected by the global recession.

Azerbaijan’s official currency is the Azerbaijani manat which is subdivided into 100 qapiks. The first manat banknotes were introduced between 1919 and 1923 when the country was called the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic. Later, it was replaced by the Transcaucasian ruble that was eventually converted to the Soviet ruble.

The second manat launched on August 15, 1992, replacing the Soviet ruble. On October 1, 2005, the country revalued its currency at a ratio of 1 new manat to 5,000 old manat. New banknotes were issued bearing the designs of Austrian Robert Kalina who also designed the European Union banknotes. The notes have various themes on their obverse while the reverse all bear the map of Europe and the map of Azerbaijan.

In 2009, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan was established and issued banknotes between 2009 and 2018, bearing similar designs as the preceding issues but with the new bank’s name and enhanced security features. Additionally, a 200-manat banknote was put in circulation. 

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