The euro has been around for 21 years a?? here are the 12 currencies it replaced

Owen Franken/Corbis /Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance/Business Insider

For millions of Europeans, this week marked the 18th anniversary of when they started to use the euro.

The euro was introduced in 12 countries as coins and bank notes on January 1 2002, replacing what were in some cases centuries-old currencies. It's now the second most-used currency worldwide.

Those countries had a long time to prepare. A three-year transition period began in 1999 that allowed the euros to be used for online payments, meaning the euro has now been around for 21 years.

People queued at cash machines to get their hands on the new money at midnight, in what the EU calls "biggest cash changeover in history."

Seven more countries have joined the eurozone since its introduction.

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The euro, the common currency that links 19 countries, has now been around for 21 years. The euro first replaced 12 national currencies when it was introduced as coins and banknotes on January 1 2002. The what the european Union describes it as the "biggest cash changeover in history." But the currency was actually first introduced in 1999, when it was used for things like online payments, giving millions of people time to prepare. Its introduction had been a goal for many European countries for decades. Now, around 341 million people use it every day, according to the EU, this makes it "the second most-used currency worldwide." Not every one of the 28 countries in the EU uses the euro. The UK, for example, continues to use its pound. The countries that use the currency are collectively called the Eurozone - and other countries outside the EU, like the Vatican, also use it, while other EU countries are looking to adopt it. Here are the currencies the euro it replaced when it was first introduced:
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