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1 Pula 1976, Botswana

in Krause book Number: 1a
Years of issue: 23.08.1976
Signatures: Minister of finance: Hon. Sir Quett Ketumile Jonny Masire (in office 1967-1980), Governor: Mr. Quill Hermans
Serie: 1976 Issue
Specimen of: 1974
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 120 x 60
Printer: TDLR (Thomas de la Rue & Company), London

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

1 Pula 1976




Rearing zebra.

Bank logo

The image taken from the Logo of Bank of Botswana.


1 Pula 1976

Sir Seretse Khama

The first president of Botswana Sir Seretse Khama.

The engraving, probably, is made after this photo (mirror view). Exact date of the photo is unknown.

Sir Seretse Goitsebeng Maphiri Khama, KBE (1 July 1921 – 13 July 1980) was the first president of Botswana. Born into one of the more powerful of the royal families of what was then the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland, and educated abroad in neighbouring South Africa and in the United Kingdom, he returned home with a popular, but controversial bride - to lead his country's independence movement. He founded the Botswana Democratic Party in 1962 and became Prime Minister in 1965. In 1966, Botswana gained independence and Khama became its first president. During his presidency, the country underwent rapid economic and social progress.

At the time of its independence in 1966, Botswana was the world's third-poorest country, even poorer than most other African countries. Its infrastructure was poor, with only 12 kilometers of paved roads, and it was highly uneducated, with only 22 university graduates and 100 secondary school graduates. Khama set out on a vigorous economic program intended to transform it into an export-based economy, built around beef, copper and diamonds. The 1967 discovery of Orapa’s diamond deposits aided this program. However, other African countries have had abundant resources and still proved poor. Khama instituted strong measures against corruption, the bane of so many other newly independent African nations. Unlike other countries in Africa, his administration adopted market-friendly policies to foster economic development. Khama promised low and stable taxes to mining companies, liberalized trade, and increased personal freedoms. He maintained low marginal income tax rates to deter tax evasion and corruption. He upheld liberal democracy and non-racism in the midst of a region embroiled in civil war, racial enmity and corruption. The small public service was transformed into an efficient and relatively corruption-free bureaucracy with workers hired based on merit. Calls to immediately "indigenize" the bureaucracy were resisted, with foreign expatriates working in the bureaucracy retained until suitably qualified locals could be found to replace them, and with international advisers and consultants freely used. Mining companies were encouraged to search the country for more resources, leading to the discovery of additional copper, nickel, and coal deposits.

Between 1966 and 1980 Botswana had the fastest growing economy in the world. This growth was primarily driven by mining, and the government moved to secure itself greater revenue. The customs union between Botswana and South Africa was renegotiated in 1969, with the government of Botswana securing for itself a greater share of the mining revenue, and in 1975, once it became clear how productive these mines were, the government again renegotiated the diamond mining agreement to guarantee itself 50% of the revenues. By the mid-1970s, Botswana had a budget surplus. The government used these revenues to heavily invest the expansion of infrastructure, health care, and the education system, resulting in further economic development. In particular, the government invested in other sources of economic growth. The cattle industry was heavily subsidized, with the government nationalizing the country's lone slaughterhouse and building two more, heavily subsidizing veterinary services, vaccines, and cattle fence construction, and setting up the Botswana Meat Commission as the sole seller of beef in the country, setting prices and selling beef to regional and international markets. With Khama's direct intervention, it negotiated a lucrative trade deal with the European Economic Community, gaining prices far above world levels. The Botswana Development Corporation was established in 1970 to attract foreign investment in crop agriculture, tourism, and secondary industries. In 1976, the Botswana pula was introduced, replacing the South African rand as the national currency.

Due to Khama's dedication to development, very little was spent on defense, and a small military police force was initially formed in place of an army. However, following repeated incursions by South African and Rhodesian forces, the Botswana Defence Force was formed in 1977 as a small professional military.

On the foreign policy front, Khama exercised careful politics and did not allow militant groups to operate from within Botswana. According to Richard Dale "The Khama government had authority to do so by virtue of the 1963 Prevention of Violence Abroad act, and a week after independence, Sir Seretse Khama announced before the National Assembly his government’s policy to insure that Botswana would not become a base of operations for attacking any neighbour". Shortly before his death, Khama would play major roles in negotiating the end of the Rhodesian civil war and the resulting creation and independence of Zimbabwe, and the creation of the Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference.

For a number of years leading up to his death, Khama's health deteriorated. He suffered from heart and kidney ailments, and developed diabetes. In 1976, he underwent a heart operation to install a pacemaker in Johannesburg, and from then on, frequently flew to London for medical treatment. In June 1980, he flew to London, where doctors diagnosed him with fatal pancreatic cancer, and he was flown home after it was determined that nothing could be done to cure it.

On 13 July 1980, Khama died of pancreatic cancer at age 59.

coat of arms

In top right corner is the coat of arms of Botswana.

The coat of arms of Botswana was adopted on January 25, 1966. The center shield is supported by two zebras. The shape of the shield is that of traditional shields found in East Africa. On the top portion of the shield are three cogwheels that represent industry.

The three waves symbolize water, and reminds the viewer of the motto of the nation: pula, which means simply "rain", but also good luck, and is the name of the nation's currency. This motto also highlights the importance of water to Botswana. The motto is found at the bottom of the coat of arms on a blue banner.

At the bottom of the shield is the head of a bull, which symbolizes the importance of cattle herding to Botswana. The two zebras are present since zebras are an important part of Botswana's wildlife. Also, zebra has black and white stripes, which represent equality of people of all colors in Botswana. The zebra on the right holds an ear of sorghum, an important crop in the nation. The zebra on the left holds a tusk of ivory, symbolic of the former ivory trade in Botswana. There is also view that ivory tusk represents wild life preservation. Botswana is one of the countries with a highest number of elephants in Africa.

Upupa africana

In center is The African hoopoe (Upupa africana).

The African hoopoe (Upupa africana) is a species of hoopoe in the family Upupidae. Previously considered as a subspecies (Upupa epops africana) of the hoopoe, due to its vocalisations and small differences in plumage, but it is otherwise similar to the other species.

The species was described by the German naturalist Johann Matthäus Bechstein under the current binomial name Upupa africana.

The African hoopoe is 25-28 centimeters (10-11 inches) in length and weighs 40-60 grams (1.4-2.1 ounces). It has a long, decurved bill, with cinnamon, black and white plumage and a long crest that raises when the bird is alarmed. Its wings are broad and rounded. The female is slightly duller than the male with less white in the secondary feathers. The juvenile has dull buff underparts with a shorter bill and buff tinge to the white wing bars.

"Hoop-oop" or "Hoop-oop-oop", typically with all notes at the same pitch.

The African hoopoe can be found in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and the southern half of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It inhabits broadleaf forests and savannah. It feeds on insects and their larvae, foraging by inserting its beak into the ground.

Denominations in numerals are in three corners. In words lower, centered.


1 Pula 1976

Cattle breeding in Botswana. In the foreground is a farmer milking a cow.

The dazzling blue sky, the grass burnt out in the sun and the yellowness of the sand - these are perhaps the most characteristic colors of the Botswana landscape. In some places, the uniformity of the landscape is pleasantly disturbed by the islands of shrubs and stunted trees and the succulent leaves of a cactus-shaped plant of weed, whose roots go dozens of meters deep in search of life-giving moisture. The non-ugly-looking flowers of the sack, fading among the burnt savannah and sand dunes, are called here the flowers of life. They have become a national symbol of a people living in a constant struggle against harsh nature.

After the withering hell from August to December, when the rocks crumble and turn into dust, the leaves twist on the bushes and the trees become stony, the wet season begins. The earth watered by rain sighs in relief, covered with greenery. From the crevices of the cracked soil, moist steam rises into the sky, casting a rainbow; sand dunes dress in colorful clothes; aloe and lilies with a colorful carpet cover the plain.

But when the fruits of acacia ripen and milkweed umbrellas scatter their white grains, thunderous rumbles of the last thunderstorms sound over the Okavango river. They are replaced by the swift icy winds of the Antarctic. From the end of May to the end of July, Kalahari is winter. At night, the last puddles are covered with ice. Due to lack of feed and water, cattle mortality begins; sandstorms and hurricanes are ruining the crop. The worst disaster for a country whose economy is based on agriculture.

The inhabitants of Botswana are in most herders. Any road here, like landmarks, is indicated by proactive road signs that depict a cow. You need to be especially careful at night: often a herd settles in for the night right on warm asphalt. (

Denominations in numerals are in three corners. In words lower, centered.


At the time of independence in 1966, Botswana was a member of the Rand Monetary Area (RMA) and the South African rand served as the national currency. However, with the decision, announced on September 6 1974, to withdraw from the RMA, the country was committed to introducing a new currency. This required substantial preparatory work, including choosing the name for the currency, and how much and in what denominations it should be produced. Regarding the name, the choice of Pula (meaning ‘rain’ or ‘blessings’) as the basic unit made up of 100 thebe (‘shield’) was overwhelmingly supported by a poll of public opinion. Thomas de la Rue and Company and the Royal Mint, both from Britain, were chosen to design and supply the notes and coins, respectively.

The new national currency was launched on August 23, 1976, subsequently known as ‘Pula Day’. An initial period of 100 days was allowed for the exchange of rand for pula, during which time the parity between the two currencies was guaranteed; various standby arrangements were also put in place to ensure enough supply of foreign exchange should the conversion take longer than expected. However, these were quickly cancelled as it soon became clear that the new currency was being enthusiastically received by the public. A large proportion of the rand circulating in Botswana was exchanged within a few weeks of Pula Day.

At the time of launching the Pula, the denomination structure consisted of four notes (P1, P2, P5 and P10) and four coins (1t, 5t, 25t, and 50t). Over the years, due to rising prices, higher value notes have periodically been introduced and coins, which last much longer, are now used for smaller denominations that are used more frequently. The lowest value coins have also been demonetized. Nonetheless, such adjustments have not been frequent, indicating the successful use of appropriate monetary and exchange rate policies to help maintain the value of the currency.

The design of the currency has been consistently based on symbolic illustration of the socio-economic, political and cultural make-up of Botswana as a country, including the importance of democracy, tourism and mining. The design has been periodically reviewed both to improved security to counter forgeries and to make appropriate adjustments to the artwork. Regarding the latter, since the launch of the Pula in 1976, it had been the practice for all new notes to feature the portrait of the current president. However, since 1997 each denomination features a different portrait, with only the P10 note showing the current president. (Bank of Botswana)