The ariary is the currency of Madagascar. It is subdivided into 5 iraimbilanja and is one of only two non-decimal currencies currently circulating (the other is the Mauritanian ouguiya). The names ariary and iraimbilanja derive from the pre-colonial currency, with ariary (from the Spanish word "real") being the name for a silver dollar. Iraimbilanja means literally "one iron weight" and was the name of an old coin worth 1⁄5 of an ariary.
The ariary was introduced in 1961. It was equal to 5 Malagasy francs. Coins and banknotes were issued denominated in both francs and ariary, with the sub-unit of the ariary, the iraimbilanja, worth 1⁄5 of an ariary and therefore equal to the franc. The ariary replaced the franc as the official currency of Madagascar on January 1, 2005.
Coins and banknotes were denominated in both the official francs and the semi-official ariary and iraimbilanja since 1961. On early issues, the franc denomination was the most prominent. However, from 1978, higher value coins were issued denominated only in ariary. In 1993, new 500 ariary-2500 franc note and 5000 ariary-25,000 franc were issued with ariary slightly more prominent. On banknotes issued since July 31, 2003, the ariary denomination is displayed prominently and the franc denomination in small print. Lower denomination coins are also now issued denominated in ariary but with the main design unchanged.