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Greek Drachma


The Greek Drachma was the currency used in Greece before the country switched to the Euro in 2002. The Drachma was one of the world’s oldest known currencies, with its use dating back to ancient Greece. The term “Drachma” originally meant “handful,” denoting a handful of iron nails, which were among the first forms of currency in ancient times.


The phonetics of the keyword “Greek Drachma” would be: /gri:k dræk.mə/

Key Takeaways

  1. The Greek Drachma is an ancient currency of Greece. It is noted as being one of the oldest currencies in the world, with its use dating back to around 1100 BC.
  2. It was not only a form of currency, but also a weight measure and a unit of value in ancient Greece. This multi-faceted functionality of the Drachma was a common aspect of currencies in ancient civilizations.
  3. The Drachma underwent several periods of use and disuse in Greece’s history, with its latest phase coming to an end in 2002 when Greece switched to using the Euro as their official currency.


The Greek Drachma is important in business and finance as it refers to the former monetary unit of Greece before the country adopted the Euro as its official currency in 2001. Its relevance lies largely in historical context and influences the current economic understanding of the region. The performance of the Greek Drachma often serves as a reference point while discussing Greece’s financial struggles with debt and the impact of its swap to the Euro. Some economists debate whether returning to the Drachma could offer a means to address the country’s ongoing economic woes, presenting an argument that hinges on evaluating the past performance and strategic value of the Greek Drachma.


Greek Drachma was the official currency unit of Greece before the adoption of the Euro in 2001. Named after the ancient Greek currency, the Drachma served as a bridge for Greece’s financial transactions with the rest of the world. It was used as a medium of exchange for goods and services within the domestic economy and was accepted for trading activities, both export and import, with foreign nations. Moreover, the Drachma was perceived as a measure of national wealth and seen as a reflection of the country’s macroeconomic health, showing the state of its trade balance, economic growth, and inflation rate, among others.With regards to monetary policy decisions, the Greek Drachma was integral as the Bank of Greece primarily regulated the money supply to stabilize the currency’s value. This involved controlling inflation and trying to institute measures that would prevent large fluctuations in the currency exchange rate. The management of Drachma was crucial for the smooth functioning of financial infrastructure and economic stability. Having the sovereignty over its currency enabled Greece to exert direct control over its monetary policy, unlike today under the Eurozone’s common currency set up, where such flexibility is somewhat limited.


1. Historical Use: From classical times until 2002, the Greek Drachma was the national currency of Greece. It played a significant role in international trade in the Mediterranean region, and strongly influenced the design of other currencies. The Drachma was replaced by the Euro as part of Greece’s integration into the European Union. 2. Tourism: For tourists who visited Greece before 2002, the Drachma was used for all forms of transactions such as buying souvenirs, taking local transport, food, and accommodation. Therefore, understanding the conversion rate from their home currency to the Drachma was essential for budgeting their trip. 3. Greek Financial Crisis: During the Greek financial crisis in 2004-2009, some economics experts suggested reintroducing the Drachma as a way to help the country regain control of its economy. This reintroduction did not occur, however, as Greece decided to remain with the Euro and follow austerity measures set by the European Union although it led to serious debates and global attention to the value and influence of Greek Drachma.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Greek Drachma?

The Greek Drachma is the former basic unit of money in Greece. It was used from Ancient times until 2001 when Greece adopted the Euro.

When was Greek Drachma first used?

Greek Drachma can be traced as far back as the ancient period around the 5th century BC. It was reintroduced in the modern era in 1832 and remained in use until the country transitioned to the Euro in 2001.

Why did Greece stop using the Drachma?

Greece stopped using the Drachma when it adopted the Euro as its official currency as part of its integration into the Eurozone in 2001.

How many Drachmae equaled one Euro when Greece switched currencies?

The exchange rate at the time Greece switched to the Euro was approximately 340.75 Drachmae to one Euro.

Can Greek Drachma still be exchanged to Euro?

As of now, Greek Drachma can no longer be exchanged for Euros at the national central bank. The deadline for the exchange was the 1st of March 2012.

What is a Drachma coin and what is it made of?

A Drachma coin is a form of currency that was used in Greece before the Euro. They were composed of various materials throughout history including gold, silver, and copper.

What was the highest denomination of the Greek Drachma?

The highest denomination of the Greek Drachma was the 10,000-drachma note.

Who was featured on Greek Drachma banknotes and coins?

Greek Drachma banknotes and coins often featured prominent Greek historical figures or mythology, such as the gods and goddesses of Olympus, famous philosophers, and significant political leaders.

Related Finance Terms

  • Ancient Currency: Greek Drachma was the currency used in Greece during several different periods of its history.
  • Obol: It was a smaller unit of the Drachma in ancient Greece, with six obols equating to one drachma.
  • Debasement: This refers to the reduction in the content of precious metal in a coin under the face value, a practice which occurred multiple times with the Greek Drachma during ancient times.
  • Euro: The Greek Drachma was replaced by the Euro as Greece’s national currency in 2001.
  • Monetary Policy: This term refers to the process by which the monetary authority of a country controls the supply of money. The Bank of Greece was responsible for this when the Drachma was in circulation.

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