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History of the Euro
The euro was launched on 1 January 1999 as an electronic currency and became legal tender on 1 January 2002, but attempts to create a single currency go back 20 years. This chart shows the value of the euro (before 1999 as a basket of the 11 legacy currencies) against the US dollar.
Hover or Click on the graphic below

Birth of the European Monetary System
It was the economic crisis of the 1970s that led to the first plans for a single currency. The system of fixed exchange rates pegged to the US dollar was abandoned. European leaders agreed to create a "currency snake", tying together European currencies. But the system immediately came under pressure from the strong dollar, causing problems for some of the weaker European economies.
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