detail image from banknote of Paraguay of José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia (1766–1840)
Paraguay

Paraguay – World’s Happiest Place

Guarani1 dwelt in the forests and the hills a thousand years before the paper calendars came. The Crowned River2 clasped hands with the River that Gives Birth to the Sea3 and the forests were fed, and the hills were watered, and Guarani dwelt peacefully.

Our families dwelt together. Tupa4 sent animals to our bow and fishes to our net and maize from the earth.  Isondu5 and Pananbi6remained with us bringing light and happiness.

The conquistador7, arrived in, what they call, 1524, when the leaves were falling and the rivers low. He looked for gold and silver, not food nor friend. We gave him some food and we gave him some gold, and we offered some friends. But he did not like our food, and he became crazy with our gold, and we did not see how we could be friends. But a few of our young men went with him.

Then the priests came, and they brought Mary and Jesus and books.  They said Jesus and Mary were like Tupa8 and Irupe9.  They taught us to learn from the books.  They brought crosses and statues10 and said they were like Isondu11 and Pananbi12.  But we prefer the living butterflies and fireflies. When the conquistadors enslaved some of our people, the priests stood up against them, and that was good.

The  state began in 1811 and in José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia13 became ruler. He made it law that Europeans must not marry Europeans, but only people of the land. So Guarani married Spaniards, and Spaniards married Africans.

There is no official data on the ethnic composition of the Paraguayan population, as the Department of Statistics, Surveys and Censuses of Paraguay does not ask about race and ethnicity in census surveys, although it does inquire about the indigenous population. According to the census of 2002, the indigenous people made up 1.7% of Paraguay’s total population. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraguay

World’s happiest place in a 21st century poll. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/worlds-happiest-country-would-you-believe-paraguay-n110981

Paraguay 10000 guarani banknote front
José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, El Supremo, first ruler of the new nation-state of Paraguay, is featured on the front of this banknote, Paraguay, 10,000 guaranies
banknote Paraguay, 10000 guarani 2004 back
The date of the independence of Paraguay, May 14, 1811, when a new independent junta was constituted, is featured in this banknote of Paraguay

Paraguay

Paraguay – Six Silver Moonbeams

Agustin Barrios is featured on the Paraguay banknote

Agustin Barrios, Magnífico guitarrista, gift of the Guarani, Treasure of Paraguay, expressed his mystical encounter with the instrument as follows

Tupa, the supreme spirit and protector of my people,
Found me one day in the middle of a greening forest,
Enraptured in the contemplation of Nature,
And he told me: “Take this mysterious box and reveal its secrets.”
And enclosing within it all the songs of the birds of the jungle
And the mournful sighs of the plants,
He abandoned it in my hands.
I took it and obeying Tupa’s command I held it close to my heart.
Embracing it I passed many moons on the edge of a spring fountain
And one night, Yacy (the moon, our mother),
Reflected in the crystal liquid,
Feeling the sadness of my Indian soul,
Gave me six silver moonbeams
1
With which to discover its secrets.
And the miracle took Place:
From the bottom of the mysterious box,
There come forth a marvelous symphony
Of all the virgin voices of America

The guitar of the master is featured on the reverse of the Paraguay 50,000 guarani banknote

Barrios delighted to perform in traditional Guarani attire wishing to represent the soul of his people to the world.

Meeting with Andre Segovia in the 1920s, Segovia was so impressed he wished to play Agustin’s La Cathedral in his concerts.

Agustin Barrios is considered the greatest by many, “… as a guitarist/composer, Barrios is the best of the lot, regardless of ear. His music is better formed, it’s more poetic, it’s more everything! And it’s more of all those things in a timeless way. So I think he’s a more significant composer than Sor or Guiliani, and more significant composer — for the guitar — than Villa-Lobos.”

— John Williams, 1993

the marvelous symphony of all the virgin voices of america
six silver moon beams
Saudi-Arabia-1012-1-front
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Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia

A guide to transliteration of Arabic numerals follows below:

The front of our banknote shows a serial number in Arabic on the top left and the same serial number on the descending down the far right in English.  The year 1433 of the Islamic calendar appears in the lower left of the front of our banknote.  The corresponding year 2012 of the Gregorian calendar appears in the lower left of the back of our banknote.

Cameroon 500 Franc 2002 banknote front featuring school children in class
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Cameroon – 500 Francs – Year 2002

Cameroon 500 Francs Year 2002

A lovely classroom scene is featured on the obverse of our Cameroon 500 franc banknote.  It appears as if a classroom demonstration is taking place, with one student at the blackboard illustrating the alphabet to others,  How important education is!  And how commendable that education is being celebrated on our banknote.

The Central Africa CFA franc is a common currency among 6 central Africa states.  The capital “U” in the top left and right corners is what distinguishes this particular banknote as originating from Cameroon.  In 2002, the year of issuance of our banknote, (see back lower right corner), U designated Cameroon, whereas the other 5 nations are designated as follows: T – Republic of Congo, M – Central African Republic, A – Gabon, F- Equatorial Guinea, C- Chad.

Cameroon 500 Francs Year 2002

In the earliest days of independence from the colonial era, 1972-1976, education in Cameroon was split between the French system of teaching with the French language, and the British system of teaching and the English language. The two methods and languages in one country were considered a testament on unity between east Cameroon and West Cameroon. But not only are the languages different, but the logic of the instructional methods are different, and it became recognized that the differences were creating some, perhaps unnecessary, confusion.  English is now the primary language in education in Cameroon.  The constitution of Cameroon states: “the State shall guarantee the child’s right to education [and that] primary education shall be compulsory“.

Cameroon became a German colony in the late 19th century.  Following Germany’s defeat in WW1, by a League of Nations mandate, France and Great Britain came to control portions of the territory.  Following WW2 an independence movement began and was resisted by the French.  Cameroon gained independence on January 1, 1960.

Tripolitania 10 Lira banknote front (2)
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Libya – Tripolitania – 10 Lire – Year 1943 – WW2

Tripolitanian Lira, era WW2, 20th century

“Issued by the Military Authority in Tripolitania” reads our banknote prominently across the obverse top center.  The Tripolitanian Lira was issued in this region under British command, generally now known as Libya, during and immediately following World War 2.  It was replaced in 1952 with the Libyan pound, Libya having become independent the preceding year, 1951.  Tripoli today is the largest city in Libya., Benghazi being the second largest city.

Tripolitania, on the Mediterranean coast of northern Africa, is a region populated since time immemorial, and prominent since, at least, the Carthaginian empire, a great competitor of the early Roman empire.  A city, on the site of present day Tripoli, was founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC; and was subsequently overtaken by the Greeks and then the Carthaginians.  With the defeat of Carthage in the Punic Wars, Tripolitania came under the governance of Rome until the Fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century.  The 8th century Muslim Conquest brought Tripolitania under the influence of Islam, and the 15th century Ottoman Conquest brought it into the new empire.

A military coup d’etat brought Omar Gaddafi to power in 1969.  Gaddafi ruled until he was overthrown in the 2011 civil war, a part of the Arab Spring.

Tripolitanian Lira

Tripoli has an ancient heritage.  Americans may recall the name in the lyric from the theme song of the Marine division of its armed forces, “..to the shores of Tripoli“.  A Barbary wars fought around Tripoli were perhaps the official first armed conflict of the newly birthed United States.

Closeup detail Chad 1000 Francs 2000 banknote back featuring people on raft
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Chad – 1000 francs – year 2000

Chad 1000 francs year 2000

The front of our banknote features the agriculture of coffee in central Africa.  The coffee flower in the lower left and the coffee fruit in the upper right, then the coffee picking in the upper center and the coffee winnowing in the lower center, all elements of the agriculture so important to Central Africa.  Our banknote is from Chad.  This is indicated by the letter “P” in the top right corner and lower left corner of the front of our banknote.

6 countries participated in the common currency known as the Central African CFA franc at this time.  The images are the same, but each banknote is marked with a country code. For the banknotes issued from 1993 until 2001, the country codes for the 6 participating nations were as follows:
C – Congo, E – Cameroon, F – Central African Republic, L – Gabon, N – Equitorial Guinea, P – Chad
For the banknotes issued in 2002, the country codes for the 6 participating nations were as follows:
T – Congo, U – Cameroon, M – Central African Republic, A – Gabon, F – Equitorial Guinea, C – Chad

The first two digits of the serial number identify the year of issuance. So, for example, the serial number on our banknote from Chad, above, is 0058189410. The first two digits are 00. This indicates that the year of issuance is the year 2000. Had the year of issuance been 1997, the first two digits would be 97.

Chad 1000 francs year 2000

The logging industry is featured on the reverse of this banknote from Chad.  Appropriate trees are selected and felled in the forest.  Then they are topped and delimbed and cut into transportable logs.  The image on our banknote shows five men, equipped with tools of the trade, guiding their prepared logs on the waterways of Central Africa to the preplanned spot where a transport truck is waiting.

The beautiful hardwoods from the equatorial rainforests of Central Africa are prized around the world.

Chad 1000 francs year 2000

The six participant countries are indicated in this map on our banknote.

Chad is at the top of this map.

Chad 1000 francs year 2000
Chad 1000 francs year 2000
Republic of Central Africa 500 Franc banknote back featuring man with masks
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Central African Republic – 5/100 francs – Year 1987

Central African Republic

Our banknote featured wood carvings and a wood carver.

Central African Republic

The Republic of Central Africa.

The territory is beautiful.  Modern exploratory research indicates it is rich in natural resources below the ground in addition to its large swaths or arable land.

Its history is ancient with evidence of inhabitants dating back 10 millenia at least.

The landlocked country was ultimately penetrated by the Atlantic slave trade as was so much of West Central Africa.

France colonized the region about 150 years ago and the boundaries by which it is now known then began to take shape.

Independence was gained from France in 1960 and its present boundaries set.

The Central African Republic is among the very poorest of our world. The following measures were taken in the last half of the 2nd decade of the 21st century by various international agencies.  The Central African Republic rates:

a) the lowest GDP per capita at purchasing power parity in the world as of 2017.
b) the country had the lowest level of human development, ranking 188th out of 188 countries.
c) It is also estimated to be the unhealthiest country
d) It is the worst country in which to be young.

What shall we do?  today?