Ottoman lira

Last updated
Ottoman lira
36-1336-01-500K-kost-au.jpg Ottoman Turkish 100 Lira.jpg
LT 5 (500pt) coinLT 100 banknote
Symbol L.T.
15mecidiye or medjidiye (colloquially)
1100 piastre (pt.)
14000 para (p)
Banknotes1pt, 5pt, 10pt, 20pt, 40pt, 50pt, LT 1, LT 2, LT 5, LT 10, LT 25, LT 50, LT 100, LT 500, LT 1,000
Coins1p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 12pt, 1pt, 2pt, 5pt, 10pt, 20pt, LT 14, LT 12, LT 1, LT 2+12, LT 5
Official user(s)Flag of the Ottoman Empire (1844-1922).svg  Ottoman Empire
Unofficial user(s)Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey (until the Turkish lira started circulating)
Central bank Ottoman Bank
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.
1-lira note dated 1875 but not issued until 1880; it contains text in Turkish, French, Greek, Armenian and Arabic An "Ottomanist" banknote (12965961093).jpg
1-lira note dated 1875 but not issued until 1880; it contains text in Turkish, French, Greek, Armenian and Arabic
Lira of Mehmed V, 1911 Lira of Mehmed V, 1911.jpg
Lira of Mehmed V, 1911

The pound or lira (sign: LT; Ottoman Turkish : ليرا, romanized: līrā, French : livre turque, Greek : οθωμανική λίρα, romanized: othomanikí líra, Armenian : Օսմանյան լիրա, romanized: Osmanyan lira, Arabic : ليرة, romanized: layra) was the currency of the Ottoman Empire between 1844 [1] when it was replaced by the Turkish lira. The Ottoman lira remained in circulation until the end of 1927, as the republic was not in a position to issue its own banknotes yet in its early years. [2]

The Ottoman lira replaced the piastre ("kuruş" in Turkish) as the principal unit of currency in the Ottoman Empire, with the piastre continuing to circulate as a subdivision of the lira, with 100 piastres = 1 lira. The para also continued to be used, with 40 para = 1 piastre.

Until the 1930s, the Arabic script was used on Turkish coins and banknotes, with پاره for para, غروش for kuruş and ليرا for lira (تورك ليراسي for "Turkish lira"). In European languages, the kuruş was known as the piastre, whilst the lira was known as the "livre" in French and the "pound" in English. [3] English-language publications used "£T" as the sign for the currency, [4] [5] but it is unknown whether it was ever used natively.

Between 1844 and 1881, the lira was on a bimetallic standard, with LT 1 = 6.61519 grams pure gold (roughly 910 of a Sovereign) = 99.8292 grams pure silver. In 1881, the gold standard was adopted and continued until 1914. World War I saw Turkey effectively depart from the gold standard with the gold lira being worth about LT 9 in paper money by the early 1920s.

Between 1844 and 1855, coins were introduced in denominations of 1p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 12pt, 1pt, 2pt, 5pt, 10pt, 20pt and LT 14, LT 12, LT 1, LT 2+12 and LT 5. The para denominations were struck in copper, the kuruş in silver and the lira in gold. The 1p was discontinued in 1859, with the higher copper denominations ceasing production between 1863 and 1879. In 1899, billon 5p and 10p were introduced, followed by nickel 5p, 10p, 20p and 40p in 1910. Gold coins continued to be minted after the abolition of the gold standard, even into the 1920s, but their value far exceeded the value of the equivalent denominations in paper currency.

The central Ottoman Bank first issued paper currency Kaime in 1862, in the denomination of 200pt. The notes bore texts in Turkish and French. Notes for LT 1, LT 2 and LT 5 were introduced in 1873. In 1876, smaller denomination notes were introduced for 1kr, 5kr, 10kr, 20kr, 50kr and 100pt. In 1908, LT 50 and LT 100 notes were introduced.

From 1912, the Ministry of Finance issued paper money. Initially, notes were produced in denominations of 5pt and 20pt, LT 14, LT 12, LT 1 and LT 5, followed the next year by 1pt and 2+12pt, LT 2+12, LT 10, LT 25, LT 50, LT 100 and LT 500. LT 1,000 notes were introduced in 1914. In 1917, postage stamp money was issued in the form of 5p and 10p stamps affixed to card.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Albanian lek</span> Albanian currency

The lek is the currency of Albania. Historically, it was subdivided 100 qintars.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Syrian pound</span> Currency of Syria

The Syrian pound or lira is the currency of Syria. It is issued by the Central Bank of Syria. The pound is nominally divided into 100 piastres, although piastre coins are no longer issued.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Saudi riyal</span> Currency of Saudi Arabia

The Saudi riyal is the currency of Saudi Arabia. It is abbreviated as ر.س or SAR (Saudi Arabian Riyal). It is subdivided into 100 halalas. The currency is pegged to the US dollar at a constant rate of exchange.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kuruş</span> Subunit of Turkish Lira

Kuruş, also gurush, ersh, gersh, grush, grosha, and grosi, are all names for currency denominations in and around the territories formerly part of the Ottoman Empire. The variation in the name stems from the different languages it is used in and the different transcriptions into the Latin alphabet. In European languages, the kuruş was known as the piastre.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Revaluation of the Turkish lira</span> Overview of the revaluation of the Turkish lira

The new Turkish lira was the currency of Turkey and the de facto independent state of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2008 which was a transition period for the removal of six zeroes from the currency. The new lira was subdivided into 100 new kuruş. The symbol was YTL and the ISO 4217 code was TRY.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Piastre</span>

The piastre or piaster is any of a number of units of currency. The term originates from the Italian for "thin metal plate". The name was applied to Spanish and Hispanic American pieces of eight, or pesos, by Venetian traders in the Levant in the 16th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Serbian dinar</span> Currency of Serbia

The dinar is the currency of Serbia. One dinar is subdivided into 100 para. The dinar was first used in Serbia in medieval times, its earliest use dating back to 1214.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Denomination (currency)</span> Proper description of a currency amount

Denomination is a proper description of a currency amount, usually for coins or banknotes. Denominations may also be used with other means of payment such as gift cards. For example, five euros is the denomination of a five-euro note.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maltese lira</span> Currency of Malta from 1825 until 31 December 2007

The lira or pound was the currency of Malta from 1972 until 31 December 2007. One lira was divided into 100 cents, each of 10 mils. After 1986 the lira was abbreviated as Lm, although the original £M sign continued to be used unofficially. In English the currency was still frequently called the pound even after its official English language name was changed to lira.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cypriot pound</span> Former currency of Cyprus

The pound, or lira, was the currency of Cyprus, including the Sovereign Base Areas in Akrotiri and Dhekelia, from 1879 to 2007, when the Republic of Cyprus adopted the euro. However, the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus uses the Turkish lira as its official currency.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Italian lira</span> Former currency of Italy

The lira was the currency of Italy between 1861 and 2002. It was first introduced by the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy in 1807 at par with the French franc, and was subsequently adopted by the different states that would eventually form the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. It was subdivided into 100 centesimi, which means "hundredths" or "cents". The lira was also the currency of the Albanian Kingdom from 1941 to 1943.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Turkish lira</span> Currency of Turkey

The lira is the official currency of Turkey and Northern Cyprus. One lira is divided into one hundred kuruş.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Egyptian pound</span> Currency of Egypt

The pound is the official currency of Egypt. It is divided into 100 piastres, or ersh, or 1,000 milliemes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Para (currency)</span> Former currency of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Egypt, Montenegro, Albania and Yugoslavia

The para was a former currency of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Egypt, Montenegro, Albania and Yugoslavia and is the current subunit, although rarely used, of the Serbian dinar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sudanese pound</span> Currency of the Republic of the Sudan

The Sudanese pound is the currency of the Republic of the Sudan. The pound is divided into 100 piastres. It is issued by the Central Bank of Sudan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Libyan pound</span>

The Libyan pound was the currency of Libya between 1951 and 1971. It was divided into 100 piastres and 1000 milliemes (مليم).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Palestine pound</span> Currency of the British Mandate of Palestine from 1927 to 1948

The Palestine pound was the currency of the British Mandate of Palestine from 1 November 1927 to 14 May 1948, and of the State of Israel between 15 May 1948 and 23 June 1952, when it was replaced with the Israeli lira. The Palestine pound was also the currency of Transjordan until 1949 when it was replaced by the Jordanian dinar, and remained in usage in the West Bank of Jordan until 1950. In the Gaza Strip, the Palestine pound continued to circulate until April 1951, when it was replaced by the Egyptian pound.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lebanese pound</span> Currency of Lebanon

The pound or lira is the currency of Lebanon. It was formerly divided into 100 piastres but because of high inflation during the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990) the use of subunits was discontinued.

The piastre was the currency of Egypt until 1834. It was subdivided into 40 para, each of 3 akçe.

The history and development of British currency in the Middle East emerged from the 19th century. British involvement in the Middle East began with the Aden Settlement in 1839. The British East India Company established an anti-piracy station in Aden to protect British shipping that was sailing to and from India. The Trucial States were similarly brought into the British Empire as a base for suppressing sea piracy in the Persian Gulf. Involvement in the region expanded to Egypt because of the Suez canal, as well as to Bahrain, Qatar, and Muscat. Kuwait was added in 1899 because of fears about the proposed Berlin-Baghdad Railway. There was a growing fear in the United Kingdom that Germany was a rising power, and there was concern about the implications of access to the Persian Gulf that would arise from the Berlin-Baghdad Railway. After the First World War the British influence in the Middle East reached its fullest extent with the inclusion of Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq.


  1. Pamuk, Şevket (2000). A Monetary History of the Ottoman Empire. Cambridge University Press. p. 191. ISBN   0521441978.
  2. "History of Paper Money". Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  3. "Brooks' foreign exchange text book : An elementary treatise on foreign exchange and the monetary systems of the world : For the instruction and use of the banker, exporter, importer, tourist and particularly for the scholar and student". 1908.
  4. "Pound"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 22 (11th ed.). 1911. pp. 221–222, see page 221. Pound.—
  5. "Modern Business Practice, Vol.8". 1913.