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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.
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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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