On the 3rd of July, the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) introduced a symbol to represent the Maldivian Rufiyaa, officially adding Rufiyaa to the list of currencies with their own symbols.
The symbol was chosen after a public competition to draw the best symbol to represent the Maldivian Rufiyaa, with a prize awarded to the winner. The winner, Hassan Shujau, came up with a design using the Dhivehi Thaana letter (raa) ރ; making it unique with the addition of an extra stroke to the middle of the letter.
Before a symbol was chosen to represent Rufiyaa, people used to simply write the Thaana letter ރ (raa) after the amount if written in Dhivehi or MVR before the amount if written in English. However, with this new introduction, whether the amount is written in Dhivehi or English, the symbol will always appear on the left side of the amount.
In addition to the announcement, MMA also introduced a usage guideline for the symbol which includes how to write the symbol, the correct placement as well as how to adjust the symbol based on writing styles.
While the new symbol will be used in reprints, making the symbol available digitally is also in the works.
History of Maldivian currency
The introduction of a symbol for Maldivian currency is unquestionably a significant step forward, as the Maldivian Rufiyaa has also come a long way since its inception.
Maldivians used cowrie shells as currency until the reign of Sultan Ibrahim III when the Laari was introduced. Laari was originally a long piece of silver doubled over and stamped with the Sultan's name. The first round coin, Laari, was introduced in the 17th century. This Laari was then made of various materials, and later on, one laari, five laari, ten laari, 25 laari, and 50 laari were introduced.
Bank notes were not introduced to the Maldives until the late 1940s. The first paper money set included 60 laari, one Rufiyaa, two Rufiyaa, five Rufiyaa, and 10 Rufiyaa bills, followed by 50 and 100 Rufiyaa bills.
To commemorate the Maldives' 50th anniversary of independence, a new polymer banknote series called 'Ran Dhiha Faheh' was introduced. This new set was colourfully created with the face note and banknote with art to represent the culture and traditions of the Maldives.
With all of these changes adding a layer of culture and history hidden behind the art and designs, the new symbol is yet another addition that gives the Maldivian Rufiyaa a new meaning.