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5 Romania Leu
The Romanian leu (Romanian pronunciation: [lew], plural lei [lej]; sign: L; ISO 4217 code: RON; numeric code: 946) is the currency of Romania. It is subdivided into 100 bani (Romanian pronunciation: [banʲ], singular: ban [ban]), a word that means “money” in Romanian.
The name of the currency means “lion”, and is derived from the Dutch thaler (leeuwendaalder “lion thaler/dollar”). The Dutch leeuwendaalder was imitated in several German and Italian cities. These coins circulated in Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria and gave their name to the respective currencies the Romanian leu, Moldovan leu, and Bulgarian lev.
First Leu [1867–1947] – In 1860, the Domnitor Alexandru Ioan Cuza attempted to create a national românul (“the Romanian”) and the romanat; however, the project was not approved by the Ottoman Empire. On 22 April 1867, a bimetallic currency was adopted, with the leu equal to 5 grams of 83.5% silver or 0.29032 grams of gold. The first leu coin was minted in Romania in 1870.
Second Leu [1947–1952] – A revaluation (“Great stabilization”, marea stabilizare) took place on 15 August 1947, replacing the old leu at a rate of 20,000 old lei = 1 new leu.
Third Leu ROL [1952–2005] – On 28 January 1952, another new leu was introduced. Unlike the previous revaluation, different rates were employed for different kinds of exchange (cash, bank deposits, debts etc.) and different amounts. These rates ranged from 20 to 400 “old lei” for one “new” leu. Again, no advance warning was given before the reform took place.
Fourth Leu RON [2005–present] – On 1 July 2005, the leu was revalued at the rate of 10,000 “old” lei (ROL) for one “new” leu (RON), thus psychologically bringing the purchasing power of the leu back in line with those of other major Western currencies. The term chosen for the action was “denominare”, similar to the English term “redenomination”.
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