Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The franc is the name of several currency units, most notably for the former French francs. The name is said to derive from the Latin inscription francorum rex ("King of the Franks") on early French coins, or from the French franc, meaning "free".
|1 Swiss franc 1983|
|1 French franc 1991|
|1 Belgian franc 1996|
|1 Luxembourg franc 1990|
|1 Monaco franc 1978|
Countries which use francs include Switzerland, Liechtenstein and most of the Francophone countries of Africa. Before the introduction of the euro, francs were also used in France, Belgium and Luxembourg, while Andorra and Monaco accepted the French franc as legal tender. One franc is typically divided into 100 centimes.
The French franc symbol is an F with a line through it (₣).
The franc was originally a French gold coin of 3.87 g minted in 1360 on the occasion of the release of King John II ("the good"), held by the English since his capture at the Battle of Poitiers four years earlier. It was equivalent to one livre tournois (Tours pound).
CFA and CFP francs
Fourteen African countries use the franc CFA (in west Africa, Communauté financière africaine; in equatorial Africa, Coopération financière en Afrique centrale), originally (1945) worth 1.7 French francs and then from 1948, 2 francs (from 1960: 0.02 new franc) but after January 1994 worth only 0.01 French franc. Therefore, from January 1999, 1 CFA franc is equivalent to 0.00152449 euro.
Belgian and Luxembourg francs
The conquest of most of western Europe by Revolutionary and Napoleonic France led to the franc's wide circulation. Following independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the new Kingdom of Belgium in 1832 adopted its own franc, equivalent to the French one, followed by Luxembourg in 1848 and Switzerland in 1850. Newly-unified Italy adopted the lira on a similar basis in 1862.
In 1865 France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy created the Latin Monetary Union (to be joined by Greece in 1868): each would possess a national currency unit (franc, lira, drachma) worth 4.5 g of silver or 0.290 322 g of gold (fine), all freely exchangeable at a rate of 1:1. In the 1870s the gold value was made the fixed standard, a situation which was to continue until 1914.
In 1926 Belgium as well as France experienced depreciation and an abrupt collapse of confidence, leading to the introduction of a new gold currency for international transactions, the belga of 5 francs, and the country's withdrawal from the monetary union, which ceased to exist at the end of the year. The 1921 monetary union of Belgium and Luxembourg survived, however, forming the basis for full economic union in 1932.
Like the French franc, the Belgian/Luxemburgese franc ceased to exist in January 1, 1999, when it became fixed at 1 EUR= 40.3399 BEF/LUF, thus a franc was worth 0.024789 €. Old franc coins and notes lost its legal tender status in February 28, 2002.
1 Luxembourg franc was equal to 1 Belgian franc. Belgian francs were legal tender inside Luxembourg and Luxembourg francs were legal tender in Belgium.
The equivalent name of the Belgian franc in Dutch, Belgium's other official language, was "Belgische Frank."
The Swiss franc (ISO code: CHF or 756), which appreciated significantly against the new European currency from April to September 2000, remains one of the world's strongest currencies, worth today around two-thirds of a euro. The Swiss franc is used in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein.
The name of the country "Swiss Confederation" is found on some of the coins in Latin (Confoederatio Helvetica), to preserve neutrality among linguistic communities.
Used in Burundi.
Used in Rwanda.
Used in Djibouti. Pegged to the US dollar since 1973.
Used in Madagascar. The Malagasy franc is scheduled to disappear by the end of 2004, replaced by the more national sounding Ariary. This controversial decision was taken by the new president of Madagascar Marc Ravalomanana.
- Burundi Franc
- Cape Verdean Escudo
- Comoran Franc
- Congolese Franc
- Djiboutian Franc
- The Latverian Franc is the currency of the fictional country of Latveria.
- Malagasy Franc
- Rwandan Franc
- Swiss Franc
- Special settlement currencies
- Livre tournois (French pound)
- Roman currency
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