The riel is the currency of Cambodia. There have been two distinct riel, the first issued between 1953 and May 1975, and the second since April 1, 1980. In Cambodia, the U.S. dollar is also widely used. Between 1975 and 1980, the country had no monetary system.
First riel, 1953-1975
In 1953, the Cambodia branch of the Institut d'Emission des Etats du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam issued notes dual denominated in piastre and riel with the riel being at par with the piastre . At the same time, the two other branches had similar arrangement with the đồng in South Vietnam and the kip in Laos. This means that the first Cambodian riel was a direct lineal descendant of the Spanish pieces of eight. The riel was at first subdivided into 100 centimes (abbreviated to cent. on the coins) but this changed in 1959 to 100 sen. For the first few years, the riel and piastre circulated alongside each other. Indeed, the first riel banknotes were also denominated in piastres.
First Issue 1955-56 - 1 Riel, 5 Riel, 10 Riel, 50 Riel
Second Issue 1956 - 1 Riel, 20 Riel, 50 Riel, 100 Riel, 500 Riel
Third Issue 1963 - 5 Riel, 10 Riel, 100 Riel
Fourth Issue 1972 - 100 Riel[*], 500 Riel, 1000 Riel[*], 5000 Riel[*]
The 10, 20 and 50 centime of 1953 and sen coins were minted in aluminium and were the same size as the corresponding att and xu (su) coins of Laos and South Vietnam (though without the holes in the Lao coins). A 1 riel coin about the size of a U.S. nickel was to be issued in 1970 but was not released, perhaps due to the overthrow of the government of Norodom Sihanouk by Lon Nol.
The Khmer Rouge, 1975-1980
Although the Khmer Rouge printed banknotes these notes were not issued as money was abolished after the Khmer Rouge took control of the country.
Fifth Issue 1975 - 0.1 Riel, 0.5 Riel, 1 Riel, 5 Riel, 10 Riel, 50 Riel, 100 Riel
Second riel, 1980-
After the Vietnamese invasion in 1978, the riel was re-established as the Cambodian currency on April 1, 1980, initially at a value of 4 riel = 1 U.S. dollar. It is subdivided into 10 kak (កាក់) or 100 sen. Because there was no money for it to replace and a severely disrupted economy, the central government gave away the new money to the populace in order to encourage its use.
In rural areas the riel is used for virtually all purchases, large and small. However, the United States dollar is also used, particularly in urban Cambodia and tourist areas. In Battambang and other areas near the Thai border, like Pailin, the Thai baht is also accepted.
Sixth Issue 1979 - 0.1 Riel, 0.2 Riel, 0.5 Riel, 1 Riel, 5 Riel, 10 Riel, 20 Riel, 50 Riel
Seventh Issue 1987 - 5 Riel, 10 Riel
Eighth Issue 1990-92 - 50 Riel, 100 Riel, 500 Riel
Ninth Issue 1992-93 - 200 Riel, 1000 Riel[*], 2000 Riel[*]
Tenth Issue 1995 - 1000 Riel, 2000 Riel, 5000 Riel, 10000 Riel, 20000 Riel, 50000 Riel, 100000 Riel
Eleventh Issue 1995-99 - 100 Riel, 200 Riel, 500 Riel, 1000 Riel
Twelfth Issue 2001-08 - 50 Riel, 100 Riel, 500 Riel, 1000 Riel, 2000 Riel, 5000 Riel, 10000 Riel, 20000 Riel, 50000 Riel
Current Issued Banknotes
50 Riel - 2002
100 Riel - 2001
500 Riel - 2002/04
1000 Riel - 2005/07
2000 Riel - 2007
5000 Riel - 2001/02/04/07
10000 Riel - 2001/05/06
20000 Riel - 2008
50000 Riel - 2001
The first coins were 5 sen pieces, minted in 1979 and made of aluminium. No more coins were minted until 1994, when denominations of 50, 100, 200, and 500 riel were introduced. However, these are no longer commonly found in circulation.
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