A former Spanish colony, Costa Rica was a member of the United Provinces of Central America from 1821 to 1838, at which time the country declared its own sovereignty and independence. The following year the Head of State, Braulio Carrillo, authorized the issuance of 5 and 10 peso notes to pay public employees. The peso was the currency of Costa Rica until 1896 when the country adopted the colon, a decimal currency which remains the official currency to this day. The first bank in the country, the Costa Rican National Bank was founded in 1858 and began issuing paper money. The government and private banks issued notes throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. The International Bank was established in 1914 as Costa Rica’s national bank and in 1921 it was designated as the sole issuer of banknotes. In 1950 the Central Bank of Costa Rica was founded and took responsibility for the issuance of all currency.