The dalasi is the currency of the Gambia that was adopted in 1971. It is subdivided into 100 bututs. It replaced the Gambian pound at a rate of 1 pound = 5 dalasis, i.e. 1 dalasi = 0.2 pound = 4 shillings.
The name derives from dala, a nickname of the 5 French West African franc note, which in turn derived from "dollar", while butut is from Wolof butuut, "small thing".
In 1971, coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 bututs and 1 dalasi were introduced. The 1 and 5 bututs were struck in bronze while the 10 bututs was brass and the 25, 50 bututs and 1 dalasi were cupro-nickel. The reverse designs of the three higher denominations were taken from the corresponding denominations of the previous currency (1, 2 and 4 shillings), with the reverse designs for the lower three coins coming from the 6, 1 and 3 pence coins, respectively. All coins of this series depict former president, Sir Dawda Jawara.
New 1 dalasi coins were introduced in 1987, modeled on the 50 pence coin of the United Kingdom. These replaced the larger, round dalasi coins which never saw its widespread use as the lower denominations.
In 1998, a new coin series was introduced, in which the effigy of Dawda Jawara was dropped and replaced with the national coat of arms on the obverses. However, older Jawara era coins still commonly circulate as legal tender. The 1 dalasi coin was also downsized in size and weight, but none of the other coins were changed. Only 25 and 50 bututs and 1 dalasi coins are currently in circulation, they are of the 1998 issue which also included 1, 5 and 10 bututs coins but have since disappeared due to low valuation.
Banknotes currently in circulation are 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 200 dalasis. 1 dalasi notes were issued between 1971 and 1987. Current banknotes were first issued on 27 July 1996, then reprinted in 2001. On 27 July 2006, the Central Bank of the Gambia issued a new series of notes with images similar to the preceding issues, but with improvements in the design, paper thickness, and security features. Most noticeably, the old white borders have been removed. Furthermore, the 5 and 10 Dalasis are coated with a special varnish to extend circulation life. Finally, the security features of the 100 Dalasis have been upgraded by the inclusion of a silver foil on the front of the note with the image of 100 embossed into the foil.
A polymer commemorative 20 Dalasis was put into circulation to commemorate 20 years of Yahya Jammeh's regime.
On April 15, 2015, the Central Bank of the Gambia released a new family of banknotes that includes two new denominations, a 20 dalasis note to replace the 25 Dalasis note and a 200 dalasis note, twice the value of the previously highest denomination. All of the notes feature a portrait of the former President of the Gambia, Yahya Jammeh.
In February 2018, a new series of banknotes, believed to be a reprinting of the 2006-13 issues, but with a new signature combination, will be released as an interim measure to replace notes with the portrait of former President of the Gambia Yahya Jammeh. The notes bearing his image will be removed from circulation. By the end of 2018, a whole new series, including new security features will be released.
1978 1 Dalasi - opening of the Central Bank of The Gambia's building in Banjul.