Want to make creations as awesome as this one?

Transcript

9

10

17

15

16

18

14

13

8

11

12

7

6

4

5

2

3

1

MONIES OF THE WORLD: AFRICA Until well into the 20th century, the states and peoples of the central and southern regions of the African continent differed from their Mediterranean counterparts in their use of coinage, adopting different forms of money as means of payment and instruments of trade. African currencies are ancient, varied and complex. Although salt, certain species of seashells and selected woods and textiles were all highly valued for their economic and symbolic value, the preferred element was metal. Iron and copper were transformed into ingots, weapons and jewellery for no other purpose than to make payments and signify value.

3. KATANGA “CROSS” Copper Katanga (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 19th-20th centuries These ingots in the shape of a cross date back to the 13th century and were the preferred form of currency for major transactions and dowries. At the beginning of the 20th century, a cross like this one could buy 10 kg of flour or five hens. A firearm cost ten crosses.

2. SALT INGOT Rock salt and camel skin Mopti or Timbuktu (Mali), 19th-20th centuries Rock salt, carved into blocks, formed the base of several African systems. It travelled great distances and had the same value as gold dust. In the Roman world, before the widespread use of coinage, the military were partly paid in salt, giving rise to the word “salary”.

4. 1500 FRANCS CFA / 1 AFRICA Nickel-plated steel Issue of the Central African Development Institute Congo, 2005 After decolonisation, the African states considered their traditional currencies elements of identity. This commemorative issue celebrates the currency of each country, such as the Katanga cross. The CFA franc system is used in several Central African countries

6. SENGESE Iron and leather Matakam people (Cameroon and Nigeria), 19th-20th centuries In parts of Central Africa, throwing knives acquired a ceremonial and deeply symbolic function. The high value of iron made them a useful currency for making large ritual and commercial payments, and they ceased to be used as offensive weapons.

7. BOLOKO Copper Democratic Republic of the Congo, 19th-20th centuries These large curved rods were the most valuable form of currency for various people groups in the central and western parts of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1911, two boloko would buy a male slave and three a female slave. The price for a wife, a large ritual payment, was ten boloko.

8. ZAPPOZAP Iron, copper and wood Kasai (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 18th-19th centuries These ornate ceremonial axes carried by rulers and chiefs were originally a symbol of wealth and social status. Their use as currency is largely explained by European expansion, and they were made on a grand scale for both domestic and international trade.

10. PRINCE MANILLA Copper Nigeria, 19th-20th centuries Along with cowrie shells, manillas were the most common forms of currency in Africa. Used from at least the 13th century, between the 15th and 19th centuries they were one of the preferred methods of payment in the West African states that acted as intermediaries in the slave trade. African manillas come in different shapes, but the best known objects are the European imitations that several countries made to trade in African markets. They became a general-purpose currency and continued to be used in Nigeria until 1948.

9. KISSI PENNIES Iron Kissi, Guerze and Toma peoples (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea), 19th-20th centuries Among the metal rods used as currency, the best known are Kissi pennies or “pennies with soul”, which were still used in the first half of the 20th century as the common currency at markets. They were typically arranged in bundles of 20 due to their low value.

11. BRACELET / MANILLA Bronze Nkutshu people (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 19th-20th centuries Along with cowrie shells, manillas were the most common forms of currency in Africa. Used from at least the 13th century, between the 15th and 19th centuries they were one of the preferred methods of payment in the West African states that acted as intermediaries in the slave trade. African manillas come in different shapes, but the best known objects are the European imitations that several countries made to trade in African markets. They became a general-purpose currency and continued to be used in Nigeria until 1948.

13. BIKIE Iron Ntumu people (Southern Cameroon), 19th-20th centuries The bikie is a good of example of a currency that looks like a weapon but is not used as such. These spearheads were a common means of payment until the 1920s. Around 1900, a chicken cost 30 bikie, a goat 200, and the price of a bride could be as high as 10,000 bikie.

14. COWRIE SHELLS Cypraea moneta / Monetaria moneta shell Korosko (Egypt-Sudan), 20th century The scientific name of this mollusc is derived precisely from its use as a form of currency. In Africa these seashells were a universal means of payment for all kinds of purchases, including taxes. As from the 17th century, they played a key role along with manillas in the slave trade, especially in the Gulf of Guinea, where in the mid-19th century a slave could cost around 20,000 cowries. European companies imported them en masse from the Indian Ocean, and the Maldives in particular. The cut on the back made them easy to be strung together, facilitating both to count and carry.

18. OSHELE Iron Nkutshu people (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 19th-20th centuries In parts of Central Africa, throwing knives acquired a ceremonial and deeply symbolic function. The high value of iron made them a useful currency for making large ritual and commercial payments, and they ceased to be used as offensive weapons.

16. TUKULA Wood pulp from Baphia nitida Democratic Republic of the Congo, 20th century These blocks made with wood pulp from the Baphia nitida shrub native to Central and Western Africa were used from the 17th century for large scale purchases and ceremonial gifts. They were valued for their reddish colour, thought to have special attributes.

17. RAFFIA CLOTH Palm fibre and pigments Democratic Republic of the Congo, 20th century Pieces of raffia cloth decorated with geometric patterns were an official form of currency, along with Olivella nana shells, in the Kingdom of Congo from the late 15th century. Of greater value than the shells, they were used for all kinds of payments, including taxes, until 1950.

15. 1500 FRANCS CFA / 1 AFRICA Nickel-plated steel Issue of the Central African Development Institute Equatorial Guinea, 2005 The scientific name of this mollusc is derived precisely from its use as a form of currency. In Africa these seashells were a universal means of payment for all kinds of purchases, including taxes. As from the 17th century, they played a key role along with manillas in the slave trade, especially in the Gulf of Guinea, where in the mid-19th century a slave could cost around 20,000 cowries. European companies imported them en masse from the Indian Ocean, and the Maldives in particular. The cut on the back made them easy to be strung together, facilitating both to count and carry.

5. CROSS- OR H-SHAPED INGOTS Copper Zimbabwe, 16th-17th centuries In this copper-rich region the use of cross-shaped ingots dates back to the 13th century. The smallest versions, like these ingots, were likely an all-purpose currency, especially in the 16th and 17th centuries. Their distribution evidences long-distance contacts between central and southern parts of Africa.

12. BRITISH OKOMBO MANILLA Brass United Kingdom, 18th-19th centuries Along with cowrie shells, manillas were the most common forms of currency in Africa. Used from at least the 13th century, between the 15th and 19th centuries they were one of the preferred methods of payment in the West African states that acted as intermediaries in the slave trade. African manillas come in different shapes, but the best known objects are the European imitations that several countries made to trade in African markets. They became a general-purpose currency and continued to be used in Nigeria until 1948.