The South Korean won
The South Korean won is the currency in circulation in South Korea since 1945, although it would later be replaced, temporarily, by the Hwan. It is divided into 100 dollars, the amount of which there is no currency. The plural of "won" is "wones".
To talk about the origins of the South Korean won we must go back to the end of World War II. In 1945 Korea was divided into North and South. Each of these territories would have a different currency, although, in both cases, it would be called won and would replace the existing yen.
The South Korean won was initially set against the US dollar at a 15 won equals $1 rate. After this, the currency would suffer a series of devaluations, in part, by the Korean War.
The first South Korean won was replaced by the hwan on February 15, 1953 at a rate of 1 hwan equal to 100 won.
At that time, it was the Bank of Joseon that minted the coins and issued the notes and it was not until 1950 when the Bank of Korea was created. And with it, new banknote denominations were introduced. A year later a new series of bills denominated in won was introduced, although they were the first emissions of the hwan.
On June 9, 1962, the won was reintroduced with an exchange rate for which 10 hwan equaled 1 KRW and on March 22, 1975 it would become the only legal currency in South Korea. At the time of its introduction, 125 won equaled 1 US dollar.
On December 24, 1997 an agreement was signed with the International Monetary Fund to allow the free fluctuation of the won in the market. Shortly thereafter it was devalued to almost half its value as many other Asian currencies, due to the Asian financial crisis.
The Bank of Korea, headquartered in Seoul, is responsible for coining the coins and issuing the banknotes.
Currently, 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 won coins and 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 50,000 won bills are in circulation.
Date of issue:
Bank of Korea
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