The Republic of Iraq is a country located in Western Asia. It is enclosed by Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and the Persian Gulf. The nation hosts diverse ethnic communities such as Arabs, Turkmens, Armenians, Persians, Kurds, Assyrians, Circassians, Shabakis, Kawliya, and Sabian-Mandaeans, sharing almost the same landscapes and wildlife. Iraq’s population consists of about 40 million citizens, the majority of which are Muslims. Home to the earliest Sumerian civilization, the country has been dubbed as the Cradle of Civilization. Iraq had a rough history as it was occupied by multiple empires and even after gaining its independence in 1932, the country still suffered from civil turbulence and military coups during World War II.
The economy of Iraq is fueled by the oil sector which contributes more than 90% of government earnings and about 80% of foreign trading revenue. Enhanced security, as well as waves of foreign investment, have boosted Iraq’s economic activity, especially in the sectors of energy, retail, and construction. From 2009, Iraq has recovered with the rebound of oil exports and oil prices.
The Iraqi dinar is the nation’s official currency which was introduced on April 1, 1932, to replace the Indian rupee. The currency was initially pegged with the British pound at par until 1959 when it was pegged to the US dollar. The first Iraqi dinar banknotes were printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co in England, and feature King Faisal I. Following King Faisal I’s death, paper bills issued by the Government of Iraq reflected the portrait of King Ghazi who took over the crown in 1933.
In 1979, Saddam Hussein became president and the country’s symbol to the rest of the world. Banknotes issued between 1990 and 2003 carried his portrait. From 2003 until 2013, a new set of notes was released by the Coalition Provisional Authority. These paper bills were designed and printed by Thomas De La Rue with modern anti-forgery techniques. In 2018, the Central Bank of Iraq introduced a new series of notes showcasing the country’s heritage and diversity.