What Kind of Money is Used in Belize?

By Japhet Rotich on September 5 2019 in Economics

Belize dollar bills.
Belize dollar bills.

Belize uses Belize dollars as the official currency which is always written with sign $ or BZ$ to differentiate from the coins denominated in the dollar. Its smallest division is 100 cents it. It traded 2 BZ$ to one US$.


The Spanish dollar became the first to circulate from 1765 to 1825. However, in the year 1825, a council order was enacted for all colonies under British administration to use the sterling. The sterling traded with Spanish dollar based on the amount of silver in the dollar rather than the gold in sterling. The rate was 4s 4d to $1. A newly council order came in the year 1838 which applied to all colonies under British except those in North America due to resistance in both lower and upper Canada.

The authorities locally in Bermuda, British Honduras, and Jamaica brought the council order of 1825 which put aside the wrongly valuing of 4s 4d to $1. However, Bahamas adopted a similar format at a later date. The use of sterling was enforced in British territories in 1838 when the Spanish dollar circulation stopped.

During part of 19th century, Jamaica, British Honduras, and Bermuda ran the same monetary system until the crisis of 1873 brought by silver internationally phased out the British sterling. However, the British government established Honduras on United States dollar marching British Honduras with Canada, necessitated by large goods from United States (US). At this time, Canada dollar stands at gold standard whereby one United States monetary value to one Canada and British Honduras branches from other British colonies in West India.

As from 1885 to 1894, one cent brought to market from least to higher denomination later. In the same the first banknotes produced by government moving to the United States from silver Peso Guatemalan rating at one pound to $4.866. The introduction of gold standard US dollar into Honduras, a British colony, the coins 25 cents came to refer as shillings due to value attachment to the sterling.

The cessation of the gold standard in the year 1931 by the United Kingdom in Honduras dollar kept the attachment with US dollar because was not part of the Sterling territory. The States of Canada, Hong Kong, and Newfoundland did not join Sterling operating area, unlike British Honduras which even maintained the rating with US dollar. However, after the value dropped during the Harold Wilson in late 1967, the Honduran British monetary value did drop in favor of British pound.

Belize Coins

The introduction of one cent bronze in the year 1885 led to the issuance of other denominations during 1894; which are 50, 20, 10, and 5 cents. All these coins were produced at Royal Mint matching the design of another dollar in British colonies notably Canada and Hong Kong. The one-cent coin assumed the shape of scallop in 1956 after its diminishing size in the year 1954.


The introduction of notes in various denominations by the government under the Board of Commissioners between 1894 and 1976. The denominations are 100, 50, 10, 5, and 1 dollar. However, 100 and 50 dollars’ production stopped at the end of 1928. During 1973, British Honduras name got replaced by Belize leading to a circulation of various notes bearing the country name in years to come. On January 1, 1982, Belize’s Central Bank came into being after the enactment of Central Bank of Belize Act No.15 and the first note produced bearing the country name came on July 1, 1983.

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