In 1973, the UAE was two years old. It was decided that a new country needed a new, standard currency to replace the mix of riyals, dinars and rupees that were used in different emirates. The dirham notes were printed in London during May 1973 and flown to the newly formed emirates under heavy guard. The dirhams arrived first at the national bank of Abu Dhabi in mid-May and then sent out to banks for the currency’s launch on May 19th. The dirham – which takes its name from the Greek for “handful” – was an immediate success and by August, all other currencies were phased out. Watch our video to find out more about the dirham’s launch 45 years ago.