Madagascar 500 Ariary banknote of 1998

2019-09-11 Wed

Madagascar is a huge island nation off the southeast coast of Africa. Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth. It is home to thousands of animal species, such as lemurs, plus rainforests, beaches and reefs. Near the busy capital, Antananarivo, is Ambohimanga, a hillside complex of royal palaces and burial grounds, as well as the “Avenue of the Baobabs,” a dirt road lined by massive centuries-old trees.

The island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the rapidly growing human population and other environmental threats. Ecotourism and agriculture are key elements of Madagascar's development strategy and the country belongs to the group of least developed countries, according to the United Nations. The main economic resources of Madagascar are tourism, textile export, production and export agricultural and mining.

The Ariary is the currency of Madagascar and it is subdivided into 5 iraimbilanja and is one of only two non-decimal currencies currently circulating. The names Ariary and Iraimbilanja derive from the pre-colonial currency, with ariary (from the Spanish word "real") being the name for a silver dollar. Iraimbilanja means literally "one iron weight" and was the name of an old coin worth 1/5 of an ariary.

In 1961, the Institut d’Emission Malgache (Malagasy Issuing Institute) introduced banknotes in denominations of 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 francs. Today we are looking at a 500 Ariary banknote issued in 1998. The note specifications are as follows:

Obverse: Portrait of a Malagasy woman to centre-right; The Dotted Aerangis (Aerangis punctata) or Comet Orchids to centre left; View of Prime Minister's Palace in Antananarivo in centre middle; Abstract finial of a wooden Aloalo tomb sculpture to extreme right.

Reverse: Malagasy weavers at work in centre; Madagascar Dragon Tree to left. This orange/red note has the Zebu's head as its watermark.

Image Courtesy: eBay.com