Before 1976, dollar was the official English translation of birr. In 1931, the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I, formally requested that the international community use the name Ethiopia (as it had already been known internally for at least 1600 years) instead of Abyssinia, and the issuing Bank of Abyssinia also became the Bank of Ethiopia.
By the mid-1930s circulation consisted chiefly of Maria Theresa and Menelik talari.
Not long after the Italian occupation and the transformation of Ethiopia into Italian East Africa, the Italian lira was introduced (15 July 1936) and Ethiopian banknotes were withdrawn from circulation at 3 lire per talar (birr).
In 1944 (EE1936 in the Ethiopian calendar), coins were reintroduced, with copper 1, 5, 10 and 25 santim and silver 50 santim. It consisted of aluminium 1 santim, brass 5 and 10 santim, and cupro-nickel 25 and 50 santim.
The most recent issues are: The dates, like the rest of the legend, appear in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia.
It was divided into 100 santim (derived from the French centime).