Brazil’s real turned 25 years old on July 1 and became the longest circulating currency in the contemporary history of Brazil. It surpassed cruzeiro, which lasted 24 years.

The currency was introduced during the presidency of Itamar Franco, as part of a broader plan to stabilize the Brazilian economy, known as the Plano Real. The new currency replaced the short-lived cruzeiro real (CR$).

Throughout history Brazil has had different currencies, as a consequenceof the diverse economic problems that the country has suffered.

From the mid-17th century until 1942 the real was the single currency, until a monetary reform withdrew it from circulation. At the time it was known as “réis”, the apocope of the plural form “reais”. Then the cruzeiro was imposed, which was divided into 100 centavos and remained in circulation until 1986. In that year the cruzado was established, in circulation until 1989, equalling 1,000 of the old cruzeiros and also divided into 100 cents.

The cruzeiro real, equivalent to 1,000 cruzeiros, came back in 1993 for one whole year, until the country returned to the Brazilian real, after many years of inflation. This time the real came back to stay, in order to provide the country with a stable currency.

Banknotes of Brazilian reais were printed at the “Casa de la Moeda” in Rio de Janeiro, and 900 million coins were distributed, with the Government investing ten million dollars to put this new currency in circulation.

In the years 1998 and 2010 new series were issued with new designs to improve the security of the banknotes and prevent counterfeiting.

Interesting Facts of the Real

The R$1 note can reach a value of R$100 for banknote collectors because it is no longer printed and is rarely seen in circulation.

There are still 150 million R$1 coins in circulation.

Brazil has other coins apart from the real. There might be up to 81 different currencies that complement the economy of the country, recognized by the Central Bank of Brazil, which have been minted by community banks in order to simulate the economy in some regions such as São Paulo or Río de Janeiro.

Brazil has changed currency at least 8 times in just 50 years.

The most modern reais banknotes, in circulation since 2010, have different sizes and are printed with different technologies that guarantee their authenticity.