The Guyanese dollar (currency sign: $ and G$; ISO: GYD) has been the unit of account in Guyana (formerly British Guiana) since 29 January 1839. Originally it was intended as a transitionary unit to facilitate the changeover from the Dutch guilder system of currency to the British pound sterling system. The Spanish dollar was already prevalent throughout the West Indies in general, and from 1839, the Spanish dollar unit operated in British Guiana in conjunction with British sterling coins at a standard conversion rate of one dollar for every four shillings and twopence. In 1955 the British sterling coinage was replaced with a new decimal coinage which was simultaneously introduced through all the British territories in the Eastern Caribbean. The long standing sterling exchange rate of four shillings and twopence to the dollar finally lapsed on 9 October 1975. The Guyanese dollar is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively G$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies.