The Brazilian economy is largely based on the large amount of oil being extracted from the country's large oil fields. Despite its apparently strong economy, Brazil has seen vast changes in its currency, particularly in the late 20th and early 21st century; to stabilise the economy and money in the South American country the Brazilian Real was devalued in the 21st century to sever links with the US dollar.
The South American country of Brazil first felt the need to introduce a national currency during the 16th century when the country was colonised by the Spanish, ADVFN reports. Before the Spanish invasion of Brazil bartering was the recognised way of doing business; with the Spanish came gold, silver and copper coins used to purchase goods and services from the local population. In 1654 Dutch colonists introduced a national currency called the Real in the first attempt to standardise the Brazilian currency; by the late 18th century the Real was so trusted paper notes began to be introduced to replace a currency based on coins, according to Go Currency.
By the 18th century the Brazilian government required all coins to be minted as Real's as the currency was now established as Brazil's money. Problems began to occur within the Brazilian economy with the removal of the Real and the introduction of the Cruzeiro as the currency of the country. As inflation and economic problems dogged Brazil throughout the 20th century the Cruzeiro was finally replaced by the Real in 1986, according to ADVFN; the Cruzeiro made a brief return in 1990 before being replaced on June 1st 1994 by the Real.
The return of the Real in 1994 is often credited to then finance minister Fernando Cardosa who led the South American country on a period of economic growth and stability in the 1990s. With South America's second largest oil reserves money in Brazil has seen large rises and falls in the value of the currency, ADVFN reports. The Brazilian real lost a large amount of its value when the government removed the link between the Real and the US Dollar leading to huge losses on the exchange market and a volatile economy during the early period of the 21st century.
The Brazilian Real is issued in paper currency and in coins known as Centavos, Brazil Help reports. Each Real is made up of 100 centavos, which can be found in 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and $1 coins; each paper Real note is available as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Real notes. On the world markets the Brazilian Real is recorded as R$ and is often written as BRL.