“Necessity is the mother of inventions”. The very same necessity for a common medium of exchange for a better economy gave way to the creation of “Currency”. Worldwide the transition of currency witnessed 2 stages, Coinage and Paper Money. The scenario was not different in Middle East. Archeological excavations in Kuwait which was focused at the Failaka Island brought into picture the first coins used in Kuwait. Most interesting fact is that, Indian Rupee was in circulation in Kuwait before the introduction of Kuwait Dinar in 1961.
Indian Rupee issued from time to time during the reign of various rulers of British Kingdom who controlled the whole economy of India was circulated in Kuwait. Those periods can be classified as 5 stages of Indian Rupee in Kuwait. The 1st Rupee lasted for 7 years from 1830 till 1837, during the reign of King William IV and the 2nd rupee from 1837 till 1901 during the period of Queen Victoria. 3rd rupee in circulation was introduced during King Edward VII which ended up in 1910. Then came the reign of King George V and that epoch also had a new issue of coins which lasted till 1936. It was during this age itself the paper money was introduced in Kuwait, in 1913. After 1936 King George VI took over the empire which ended in 1952.
Even though India got independence in 1947, the use of currencies issued by these British rulers continued for the monetary transactions in Kuwait. Indian Government took steps to introduce a different form of paper money with different color for Kuwait and other Arabian Gulf countries.
This new rupee system had differences not only in the look, but also in its purchasing power. This shattered the economic atmosphere of Kuwait. Kuwait realized the need for their own national currency which has its own value in the global market. The financial year 1961-62 marked its stamp in the history of Kuwait by introducing Kuwaiti Dinar under the auspicious of late HH Sheikh Abdulla Al-Salem Al-Sabah in April, 1961. Indian Rupee was withdrawn from Kuwait and Kuwaiti Dinar took its place as the national currency with a purchase value of 13.33 Indian Rupees. It took 2 months for the withdrawal procedures and 342 million Indian Rupees were replaced by 25,646,110 Kuwaiti Dinars.
Each Dinar comprises of 1000 fils. Present day Kuwait currency consists of six categories in denominations: Quarter (¼) of Dinar, Half (½) of Dinar, One (1) Dinar, Five (5) Dinars, Ten (10) Dinars and Twenty (20) Dinars. The first Kuwaiti banknotes bare the photo of late Amir of Kuwait HH Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the signature of the Chief of the Council of Finance at that time HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and pictures of renaissance landmarks in the State of Kuwait. Engraved phrase “The Kuwaiti Emirate” added pride to the coins issued. Later on this phrase was swapped by the word “Kuwait”. The Kuwait Dinar banknotes in circulation today got its new form after almost seven phases of renovations under the Central Bank of Kuwait.