The bolívar fuerte (pl: bolívares fuertes) is the currency
of Venezuela since 1 January 2008. It is subdivided into 100 céntimos and replaced the bolívar at the rate of Bs.F. 1 = Bs. 1,000 because of inflation.
Summary information about Venezuelan bolívar
- ISO 4217 Code:
- Currency sign:
- Bs.F. or Bs.
- 1 céntimo, 5 céntimos, 12½ céntimos, 10 céntimos, 20 céntimos, 50 céntimos, 1 bolívar fuerte
- 2 bolívares fuertes, 5 bolívares fuertes, 10 bolívares fuertes, 20 bolívares fuertes, 50 bolívares fuertes, 100 bolívares fuertes
- Central bank:
- Central Bank of Venezuela
The coast of Venezuela was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498 and was first settled by the Spanish in 1528. Venezuela was part of New Grenada when it was a Spanish Colony. New Grenada gained its independence on June 1, 1816, and Venezuela was incorporated into Gran Colombia on December 17, 1819. Venezuela gained its independence from January 13, 1830, and the Republic of Venezuela was declared on October 24, 1830.
Venezuela used Spanish Escudos (XESE) while it was a Spanish Colony and after it gained its independence. Europeans also used pearls as a medium of exchange. The first mint was established in Caracas in 1802. Some coins were issued for Greater Colombia in 1829. The Venezuelan Peso was introduced in 1843 with 1 Peso divisible into 10 Reales or 100 Centavos. Venezuela’s first coins were actually minted in Britain. Venezuela created the Venezolano (VEV) in 1873 equal to 1 Peso or 5 French Francs, and divisible into 100 Centavos. Venezuela replaced the Venezolano with the Bolivar (VEB) in 1887, equal to 1/5 Venezolano or 1 French Franc. On January 1, 2008 Venezuela devalued the Bolivar, replacing it with the Bolivar Fuerte (VEF) with one Bolívar Fuerte equal to 1000 Bolivares. The Bolivar is divisible into 100 Centimos.
Private banks had the right to issue banknotes in Venezuela until 1940 when the Banco Central de Venezuela
was established and became the sole note-issuing authority in Venezuela.
Until 18 February 1983 (now called Black Friday (Viernes Negro)) by many Venezuelans, the bolívar had been the region's most stable and internationally accepted currency. It then fell prey to high devaluation. Exchange controls were adopted since February 5, 2003 to limit capital flight, pegged to the U.S. dollar
at a fixed exchange rate
of 1600 VEB to the dollar.
The government announced on 7 March 2007 that the bolívar would be revalued at a ratio of 1 to 1000 on 1 January 2008 and renamed the bolívar fuerte in an effort to facilitate the ease of transaction and accounting. The new name is literally translated as "strong bolívar", but also references an old coin called the Peso fuerte worth 10 Spanish reales.
The name "bolívar fuerte" is only used temporarily to distinguish it from the older currency that is being used along with the bolívar fuerte.
The Central Bank of Venezuela is promoting the new currency with an ad campaign and the slogan: "Una economía fuerte, un bolívar fuerte, un país fuerte" (lit. "a strong economy, a strong bolívar, a strong country"). Nevertheless, the black market value of the bolívar fuerte has been significantly lower than the fixed exchange rate of 2.15 (in February 2008 it was as high as 7.0 to 1). It is illegal to publish this "parallel exchange rate" in Venezuela.
Some estimations suggest that the government spent more than US$320 million to introduce the new currency.
At 8 January 2010, the value was changed by the government from the fixed exchange rate of 2.15 bolívares fuertes to 2.60 bolívares for some imports (certain foods and health care goods) and 4.30 bolívares for other imports like cars, petrochemicals, and electronics.
At 4 January 2011, the fixed exchange rate became 4.30 bolívares for 1.00 USD for both sides of the economy.
It should be noted that the official value of 4.30 is restricted to individuals by CADIVI, which imposes an annual limit on the amount available for travel (up to $3000 annually depending on the location and duration of travel) and $400 for electronic purchases.
In 1879, silver coins were introduced in denominations of 1⁄5, ½, 1, 2, and 5 bolívares, together with gold 20 bolívares. Gold 100 bolívares were also issued between 1886 and 1889. In 1894, silver ¼ bolívar coins were introduced, followed by cupro-nickel 5 and 12½ céntimos in 1896.
In 1912, production of gold coins ceased, whilst production of the 5 bolívares ended in 1936. In 1965, nickel replaced silver in the 25 and 50 céntimos, with the same happening to the 1 and 2 bolívares in 1967. In 1971, cupro-nickel 10 céntimo coins were issued, the 12½ céntimos having last been issued in 1958. A nickel 5 bolívares was introduced in 1973. Clad steel (first copper, then nickel and cupro-nickel) was used for the 5 céntimos from 1974. Nickel clad steel was introduced for all denominations from 25 céntimos up to 5 bolívares in 1989.
In 1998, after a period of high inflation, a new coinage was introduced consisting of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 bolívar denominations.
The former coins were: 10 bolívares, 20 bolívares, 50 bolívares, 100 bolívares, 500 bolívares, 1000 bolívares (minted 2005, issued late 2006, incorrectly rumored as recalled due to official Coat of Arms change during the interval).
All the coins had the same design. On the obverse the left profile of the Libertador Simón Bolívar is depicted, along with the inscription "Bolívar Libertador" within a heptagon, symbolizing the seven stars of the flag. On the reverse the coat of arms is depicted, circled by the official name of the country, with the date and the denomination below. In 2001, the reverse design was changed, putting the denomination of the coin at the right of the shield of the coat of arms, Semi-Circled by the official name of the country and the year of its emission below.
Coins are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 12½, 25, 50 céntimos, and 1 bolívar. However, the coin of 1 céntimo is not widely used as most prices are rounded up to the next 5 céntimos. It will be noticed that there is a coin of 12½ céntimos and a coin of 1 céntimo; but no coin of ½ céntimo. It is therefore impossible to give correct change for a purchase of (for example) 53½ céntimos; this is however a largely academic "problem" as goods are priced (if they use the ½ at all) in 12½ céntimos increments. This nevertheless still presents theoretical mathematical problems, as there is also no 2½ céntimos coin.
In 1940, the Banco Central de Venezuela began issuing paper money, introducing by 1945 denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 bolívares. 5 bolívar notes were issued between 1966 and 1974, when they were replaced by coins. In 1989, notes for 1, 2 and 5 bolívares were issued.
As inflation took hold, higher denominations of banknotes started being introduced: 1,000 bolívares in 1991, 2,000 and 5,000 bolívares in 1994, and 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 bolívares in 1998. The first 20,000 banknotes were made in a green color similar to the one of the 2,000 banknotes, which caused confusion, and new banknotes were made in the new olive green color.
The following is a list of a former Venezuelan bolívar banknotes.
VEF banknotes pictures gallery
|2 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes|
|Banknote of 2 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes has dimensions 156×70 mm and main colors are iceberg, ucla blue, dark pastel blue, khaki, pale aqua, pale silver and sienna. The banknote of 2 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes was issued in 2008.|
Obverse side of the 2 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes is showing the portrait of Generalísimo Francisco de Miranda, Venezuelan flags and the sailing ships.
Reverse side of the 2 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes is showing the Pink Amazon River Dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) and Gusano Flor - Parque Nacional Médanos de Coro.
|5 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes|
|Banknote of 5 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes has dimensions 156×70 mm and main colors are sunset, hansa yellow, pastel orange, pale brown, pale gold, tan and burlywood. The banknote of 5 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes was issued in 2008.|
Obverse side of the 5 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes is showing an effigy of Pedro Camejo - El Negro Primero, the charging horsemen and the Venezuelan flag.
Reverse side of the 5 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes is showing the Giant Armadillo, Tatú, O'Carro, Tatú Carreta, Cuspón o Cachicamo Gigante and the Towering palm trees in Los Llanos (The Flat Plains) - one of the most beautiful regions in Venezuela.
|10 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes|
|Banknote of 10 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes has dimensions 156×70 mm and main colors are pale taupe, pale brown, rose vale, raw umber, cinereous, puce, pale silver and gray. The banknote of 10 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes was issued in 2008.|
Obverse side of the 10 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes is showing an effigy of Cacique Guaicaipuro, the spears and the masks.
Reverse side of the 10 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes is showing the Harpy eagle, Águila Arpía (Harpia harpyja), the Salto Ucaima y tepuyes Venado y Kurún (Parque Nacional Canaima).
|20 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes|
|Banknote of 20 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes has dimensions 156×70 mm and main colors are pink pearl, light thulian pink, puce, raspberry glace, languid lavender, pale chestnut, timberwolf and pastel purple. The banknote of 20 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes was issued in 2008.|
Obverse side of the 20 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes is showing the portrait of Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi.
Reverse side of the 20 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes is showing the Critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle, Tortuga Carey and the Montañas de Macanao (Parque Nacional Laguna de la Restinga).
|50 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes|
|Banknote of 50 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes has dimensions 156×70 mm and main colors are olive drab, dark tan, medium spring bud, fern green, asparagus, olivine, cambridge blue, silver, dark khaki and ash grey. The banknote of 50 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes was issued in 2008.|
Obverse side of the 50 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes is showing the portrait of Simón Rodríguez.
Reverse side of the 50 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes is showing the Spectacled Bear with Laguna Santo Cristo in background.
|100 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes|
|Banknote of 100 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes has dimensions 156×70 mm and main colors are otter brown, tan, light taupe, khaki, grullo, french beige, zinnwaldite brown and pale gold. The banknote of 100 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes was issued in 2008.|
Obverse side of the 100 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes is showing the portrait of Simón Bolívar.
Reverse side of the 100 Venezuelan bolívares fuertes is showing the Red Siskin with Cerro El Ávila in background.
- About Central Bank of Venezuela:
- Central Bank of Venezuela
- List of currencies:
- Security and design features of VEF banknotes:
- VEF banknotes
- VEF currency on Wikipedia:
- Venezuelan bolívar
- Official Website of Central Bank of Venezuela:
- Commemorative coins:
- Commemorative Coins